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Patient Self Care

Common Illnesses

Minor health conditions are conditions that can be treated through self care.  They are conditions that may improve on their own and/or be treated without visiting the GP. Your local pharmacist will be able to advise you whether you are able to obtain medicine over the counter for your health condition.

NHS England issued guidance in March 2018 that over the counter items will no be longer routinely be prescribed in primary care. This means that your doctor, or other prescriber, will not routinely prescribe medicines for minor health conditions that can be purchased over the counter. In most cases the direct cost of over the counter medicines will be lower than the combined cost to the NHS of a GP consultation, buying, prescribing and then dispensing the medicine.


February 2024 – Many pharmacies across Hertfordshire and west Essex are now seeing patients for seven common conditions as part of NHS Pharmacy First.

The new service means trained pharmacists can assess and treat patients for the following conditions without the need for them to see their GP:

  • Sinusitis (12 years and over)
  • Sore throat (5 years and over)
  • Acute otitis media (1 to 17 years)
  • Infected insect bite (1 year and over)
  • Impetigo (1 year and over)
  • Shingles (18 years and over)
  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women (16 to 64 years)

Some patients in Hertfordshire and west Essex are already benefiting from some elements of Pharmacy First, including treatment of uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in women aged 16 to 64 years.

You can walk into your pharmacy or can be referred by GPs or NHS 111 to community pharmacies for minor illnesses. You can find your local pharmacy here.


Please find links to NHS guidelines for common conditions below:

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Stort Valley Healthcare is proud to be independently regulated by the Care Quality Commission