When to visit your pharmacy instead of your GP

When to visit your pharmacy instead of your GP

It can be hard to know when you should see your pharmacist instead of your GP. But with waiting times to see the doctor up, popping in to ask your pharmacist for advice takes just a minute. However, for some health complaints, you should always seek advice from your GP - but how do we decide our best port of call?

Stomach bug or gastroenteritis

Don’t visit your GP if you’ve got a stomach bug. These types of bugs are very infectious and visiting your local surgery can spread it to other patients as well as your doctor and surgery staff. Most cases clear up in a week or so but if concerned, you should call 111 to avoid coming into physical contact with anyone.

Sore throat, blocked nose

Contrary to popular opinion, most antibiotics can’t clear up a sore throat because they are caused by a viral infection. So if you need some relief from a painful sore throat, it’s best to pop into the local pharmacy to see what ailments are available to soothe the sore feeling.

Superdrug now offer a new sore throat consultation service where a pharmacist will be able to identify what type of treatment is best to cure your sore throat. Find your local Superdrug pharmacy here. Strepsils have also launched a website with more information about sore throats and the consultation service from Superdrug, which has been sponsored by RB, the makers of Strepsils and Strefen.


Skin conditions

Common skin complaints such as eczema, acne or impetigo can often be identified by a pharmacist who will be able to provide you with the correct treatment. But always remember, if the treatment doesn’t work or condition worsens it’s always important to see your GP.


Your pharmacist will be able to provide you with relief for constipation or piles. However, if you’re not quite sure if it definitely is constipation or worried what caused it, you’re probably best to see your GP.


Hay fever, rashes, bites and stings are often not serious and can be treated and relieved with a simple cream or allergy tablet. If you’re unsure what has caused your rash though or worried the symptoms are worsening, it’s likely your pharmacist will advise you to see a GP.

Aches and pains

Things like headaches, earache and joint pain aren’t pleasant but can usually be relieved with pain killers - especially if you rarely experience this type of ache or pain or know what could have caused it. If you’re not sure what the underlying cause could be, painkillers are good for temporary relief but it’s best to ask your GP if you frequently experience pain.

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