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Local Interest

Minor Ailment Service

What is the Minor Ailment Service?

The minor ailment service is run at community pharmacies and is available for people who do not pay prescription charges (including children). It allows those people to obtain medicine from a pharmacy for a minor illness without having to make an appointment to see their GP.

How does it work?

The service is available from all community pharmacies thoughout Scotland. Once registered with a pharmacy, you can going to a pharmacy at any time (an appointment is not needed) and speak to a pharmicist, who will offer you advice and medicine (if appropriate). This medicine, like your regular prescriptions, is provided to you free of charge.

Your pharmacist may refer you back to your doctor if they believe that it would be more appropriate for them to deal with the problem, or if you need a medicine that must be prescribed by a GP.

How do I register?

You can register at any pharmacy at any time by going to your pharmacy and asking to register. Your pharmacist will ask for some details, and then fill in a form for you to sign.

You will ask to provide proof of why you do not pay prescription charges (eg a maternity or medical expention certificate).

You can register at any pharmacy to make use of the Minor Ailment Service; but you can only be registered at one pharmacy at a time. If you decide to change pharmacies for any reason (eg moving house) you must register at the new pharmacy to make use of the service.

What does the service offer?

You can get advice and free treatment for ailments such as:

  • acne
  • headache
  • athlete's foot
  • head lice
  • backache
  • indigestion
  • cold sores
  • mouth ulcers
  • constipation
  • nasal congestion (eg colds)
  • coughs
  • pains
  • diarrhoea
  • period pain
  • earache
  • thrust
  • eczema
  • allergies
  • hay fever
  • sore throats
  • haemorrhoids (piles)
  • threadworms
  • warts and verrucae

Your pharmacist may decide that it is better for you to see your doctor about the problem. In this case, they will either refer you directly or ask you to make an appointment with your GP.

How to find out more

if you have any questions about the Minor Ailment Service, or want to find out more, you can speak to staff at your community pharmacy or your GP. You can also phone the NHS Helpline for free on 0800 22 44 88. Alternatively you can contact your local Citiens Advice Bureau - you can find your local CAB at Citizen's Advice Scotland (