What is the NHS Minor Ailment Service?                                                                                                                             

  • The Minor Ailment Service is an NHS service for children, people aged 60 or over, people who hold a medical exemption certificate and people on certain benefits
  • When you are registered for the Minor Ailment Service, your pharmacist can give you medicine for a minor illness or complaint, if they think you need it. You will not have to pay for this                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Who is the service for?                                                                                                                     

You can use the NHS Minor Ailment Service if:                       

  • You are registered with a GP surgery in Scotland, and
  • You are under 16, or under 19 and in full-time education
  • You are 60 or over
  • You have a valid maternity exemption certificate, medical exemption certificate, or war pension exemption certificate
  • You get Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Pension Credit, Guarantee Credit
  • You are named on, or entitled to, an NHS tax credit exemption certificate or a valid HC2 certificate
  • You can’t use the NHS Minor Ailment Service if you live in a care home

How do I register for the service?

The NHS Minor Ailment Service is available from pharmacies across Scotland.

  • You can choose which pharmacy to register with
  • You can register at any time – you don’t have to make an appointment
  • When you register, your pharmacist may ask you for some information, including your name, date of birth and postcode
  • They will also check whether you can use the NHS Minor Ailment Service and may ask you for proof, for example your maternity or medical exemption certificate - try to remember to bring this proof with you
  • Your pharmacist will complete a form, which you must sign
  • Your pharmacist will complete a separate form for each member of your family, including children under 16, or under 19 and in full-time education
  • You can only register for the service with one pharmacy at a time. If you register with a new pharmacy, you will no longer be registered at the old pharmacy

While you are registered for the service you can still make an appointment to see your doctor any time.

How does the service work?

You will be able to get advice and free treatment (if you need it) from your pharmacist for minor illness and complaints, such as:

Acne                                                  Headache

Athlete’s foot                                  Head Lice

Backache                                         Indigestion

Cold sore                                         Mouth Ulcers

Constipation                                  Nasal Congestion

Cough                                               Pain

Diarrhoea                                        Period Pain

Earache                                            Thrush

Eczema and allergies                  Sore throat

Haemorrhoids (piles)                 Threadworms

Hay Fever                                        Warts and Verrucae

Your pharmacist, like your doctor, can only give out certain medicines and products. You may not get the medicine or product you would normally buy.

If your pharmacist feels it is better for you to see your GP, they may refer you directly or ask you to make an appointment with your GP.

Can I still go to other pharmacies?

Yes, you can go to any other pharmacy to buy medicines or collect other prescriptions. However, you will need to go to the pharmacy you have registered with to use the service

What if the above exemptions don't apply to me?

Remember that even if you can’t use this free service, you can still go to your pharmacist for advice or to buy medicine for a minor illness or complaint, such as those listed above. Your local pharmacist can give you confidential advice and treatment for these common illnesses without the need for an appointment with your GP - the difference being you will have to buy the treatment the pharmacist suggests. 

Pharmacists provide many other services such as:

  • NHS emergency hormonal contraception
  • NHS smoking cessation support
  • Advice on travel injection requirements and supply of malaria prevention
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