Full list of illnesses that can now be diagnosed and treated at NHS pharmacies instead of GPs

It's part of a "groundbreaking" new initiative beginning today.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 31st January 2024

More than 10,000 pharmacies in England can now diagnose and treat patients for several illnesses and health conditions.

As part of what is being described as a “major transformation” in the way the NHS delivers its care, from today (31 January), people in England will be able to get treatment for seven common illnesses and health conditions just by heading down to their local high street pharmacy, all without needing to make an appointment to see a GP or getting a prescription.

More than nine in 10 community pharmacies in England – a massive 10,265 locations in total – will now be offering the “groundbreaking initiative” to patients.

NHS England says it wants to make it “easier” and “more convenient” for people to access care.

This new scheme – which is part of the NHS and Government’s primary care access recovery plan – is apparently aiming to free up around 10 million GP appointments each year.


The full list of illnesses which can now be diagnosed and treated by NHS highly-trained pharmacists across England are:

  • Sinusitis
  • Sore throat
  • Earache
  • Infected insect bite
  • Impetigo
  • Shingles
  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women (under the age of 65)

“GPs are already treating millions more people every month than before the pandemic,” explained Amanda Pritchard, who is the Chief Executive of NHS England, as the scheme begins its national rollout today.


“But with an ageing population and growing demand, we know the NHS needs to give people more choice and make accessing care as easy as possible.

More than 10,000 pharmacies in England can now diagnose and treat patients for several illnesses / Credit: NHS

“People across England rightly value the support they receive from their high street pharmacist, and with eight in 10 living within a 20-minute walk of a pharmacy, and twice as many pharmacies in areas of deprivation, they are the perfect spot to offer people convenient care for common conditions.”

Ms Pritchard called the scheme “great news for patients”, as she added that many pharmacies in England open late into the evening.


The additional powers awarded to pharmacists today comes after more than 5,300 pharmacies in England began being able from December 2023 to offer women the chance to get a supply of the oral contraceptive pill over the counter, again, without needing to see their GP first.

The NHS expects that almost half a million women a year will be receiving their contraception from their high street pharmacist in the future.

It also comes as the Government has made £645 million of new funding available to support the continued expansion of community pharmacy services.

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called today’s change “crucial” for patients in England.

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