Minor health conditions can be treated without visiting the GP.  Many minor health conditions will either get better on their own or can be treated with over the counter medicines.

You can buy over the counter medicines at your local pharmacy and some other local shops – but you will only be able to get professional clinical advice from a pharmacist from your local pharmacy.  If your health condition is more serious and needs the attention of another healthcare professional, such as your GP, the pharmacist will advise you of this.

If your condition gets worse, doesn’t improve or your situation is more complex, you can call 111 or your GP.

Over the counter medicines include medicines for pain relief, coughs, colds, sore throats, diarrhoea, constipation, insect bites and stings, hay fever, sunscreens, and first aid items.

We encourage you to buy a range of over the counter medicines that are suitable for you and your family, and to keep them in stock in case of illness, that way they are quickly available when you need them.  Your local pharmacist will be able to advise which ones are most appropriate for you and your family.  You can pop in for advice any time during opening hours – there is no need to make an appointment.  Most pharmacists now have a private consultation area where you can have a confidential discussion.

Check your medicine cabinet, or create one, and make sure you have the following basics to hand for when you need them:

  • Painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen
  • Sore throat, coughs, colds and flu medications
  • Heartburn and indigestion remedies
  • Anti-diarrhoea and constipation medication
  • Antihistamines (for a mild allergy)
  • Rehydration salts
  • Pile (haemorrhoid) treatment
  • Sunscreen
  • First aid kit including plasters, bandages, a thermometer and antiseptic cream

Patients who receive free prescriptions will usually need to purchase over the counter medicines.


Source: Kingston and Richmond CCGs