Pharmacies First Port of Call – New Initiative Offers Treatment For Common Conditions

Pharmacies across Forth Valley could become the first port of call for people needing treatment for an uncomplicated urine infection. From 1 March 2016, all 76 pharmacies will be able to offer, if appropriate, free antibiotic treatment without the need for a prescription. On the spot medication will also be available, without prescription, for impetigo – a common skin infection which causes blisters and sores.

The move to make treatments available for these conditions in local pharmacies came about after figures for 2014/15 showed that almost 22,000 patients in Forth Valley were prescribed the antibiotic Trimethoprim by a GP for a urine infection and around 6,000 patients received Fusidic Acid cream for the skin condition impetigo.

NHS Forth Valley’s Pharmacy Director Gail Caldwell said: “Urinary tract infections and impetigo are two of the most common conditions seen by GPs. Offering treatment in pharmacies not only takes pressure off GP services, including out-of-hours, but also makes it easier for people to get help without having to make an appointment. Most pharmacies are open six days a week, and some located in supermarkets operate in the evenings and on Sundays.”

Harry McQuillan, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy Scotland, said: “This is an excellent example of how community pharmacists can play a key role in supporting patient care and treatment by being the first post of call for many common illnesses and conditions. I look forward to hearing more about the results of this local initiative in Forth Valley over the coming year.”

The new service is part of the wider Pharmacy First initiative which aims to make better use of pharmacy skills and widen the range of services available in local pharmacies across Scotland.

The new pilot scheme in NHS Forth Valley has already been trialled in several pharmacies over the past few months before it was rolled out to all 76 pharmacies in the area. It will be promoted in local pharmacies across the area and supported by a local advertising campaign to help raise awareness of the new scheme.

Symptoms of Urinary Tract or Bladder Infections

  • Burning or stinging sensation on passing urine
  • Needing to pass urine frequently
  • Needing to pass urine urgently
  • Passing excessive or larger quantities of urine
  • Blood in urine
  • Tenderness above pubic bone

Patients who are assessed by the community pharmacist as appropriate for treatment for a urine infection will be prescribed Trimethoprim 200mg tablets, 1 twice a day for 3 days.


  • Red sores which burst leaving behind golden crusts/scabs
  • Usually occur around the nose and mouth
  • More common in young children
  • Fluid filled blisters which burst leaving behind golden crust/scab

Patients who are assessed by the community pharmacist as appropriate for treatment for Impetigo will be prescribed Fusidic Acid 2% cream with the directions to apply four times daily for 7 days.

Pictured (L-R) Carole Smith (Well Pharmacy Alloa), Lisa Taylor (Boots Pharmacy Falkirk) and Jonathan Burton (Right Medicine Pharmacy, Stirling)