Your local pharmacy can help with a range of minor common illnesses such as coughs, colds, sore throats, earache, cystitis (bladder infection), impetigo (skin condition) and emergency contraception. You can also get advice on prescription medicines.
If you have coronavirus symptoms and need medical help for any reason, please do not go to a pharmacy. If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change in sense of smell or taste), use the 111 service.

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Pharmacy services

Help with prescriptions during COVID-19

Please order your prescriptions from your GP as normal either electronically or via telephone. There is no need to stockpile. You can also order repeat prescriptions using the NHS App.

Volunteer Cornwall can help with collecting medical prescriptions. Contact Volunteer Cornwall on 01872 266988 or email

If you have a complex need or medical question, contact the Government’s helpline on 0800 028 8327 or your GP.

Emergency supply service

Community pharmacists can arrange an emergency supply of medicines if you forget to renew your prescription (up to 5 days treatment) or bring your repeat medication on holiday (up to 14 days treatment), even if you don’t live in Cornwall.

This emergency supply service is available during busy holiday periods such as Easter, Spring half term, Christmas and New Year. This service enables community pharmacies to supply regular repeat medication during normal working hours, 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday.

Please note that the emergency supply service is only available for UK registered patients and controlled drugs like pregabalin and gabapentin are excluded from this service.

Pharmacy minor ailment scheme

Some pharmacies run a minor ailment scheme that deals with specific common health problems. When pharmacies provide medicines as part of a minor ailment scheme, you get the medicines on the NHS. Please ask pharmacy staff for more information.

Treatment for children:

  • impetigo, a skin condition
  • insect bites
  • mild skin conditions

Treatment for adults:

  • cystitis (women only, aged 16 to 65)
  • impetigo, a skin condition
  • insect bites
  • mild skin conditions

Prescription charges will apply. If you’re exempt from prescription charges, for example if you’re under 16 or over 60, or if you have a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC), you won’t pay for the medicine.

What else can a pharmacy offer?

Pharmacies offer a range of health services that you may not be aware of. For example, pharmacies promote health and wellbeing, and provide access to stopping smoking, sexual health and alcohol support services. Pharmacies may also provide a flu vaccination service, chlamydia screening, pregnancy testing and NHS health checks. These services could save you a trip to your GP!

Think! before you request a repeat prescription
To reduce the amount of medicine that is wasted, NHS Kernow wants to encourage patients to think about their medicines and to only order what they need when renewing their prescriptions and to check that they only have what they need when they pick up their prescription.

Wasted medicines cost money whether you pay for them or not.

Only ordering what you need will save money for the NHS in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and reduce the risk of you or others taking unnecessary medicines.

How you can help reduce medicine waste

  • When you collect your prescription, open the bag and check your medicines before you leave the pharmacy.
  • Hand back any medicines that you don’t need at this time. You can always order more next time if you need them.
  • Take your medicines if you can, tell us if you can’t.
  • Unwanted medicines that are returned to the pharmacy must be destroyed, even if they haven’t been opened and can’t be reused.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about your medicines. They would rather know if you are having problems with them.

Remember, prescriptions ordered in haste, can cause waste.

Legally we can’t reuse or recycle medicines once you have left the pharmacy so only order what you need.

There is no need to order medicines just in case. If you run out of medicines, you simply need to visit your GP or local pharmacy. Pharmacies receive deliveries of medicines every day.

Like food, medicines go out of date. Never take a medicine which is past its use by date. Never dispose of your medicine in the bin, or down the toilet. Please return unused medicine to your dispensing GP or pharmacy.

Talk to your GP or pharmacist if you:

  • are not taking your medicines exactly as prescribed
  • are unsure how to take them properly
  • want to stop, or have already stopped taking a medicine on your prescription
  • are concerned about the side effects
  • are unsure why you are taking a medicine
  • feel any of your medicines are not working

Ask your GP or pharmacist for a medicines review if you’re unsure or if you need help to take your medicines.

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