NHS Minor Ailment Scheme

If you don't pay for your prescriptions, you may be able to use the NHS Minor Ailment Scheme to get advice and, when appropriate, free treatment for certain common illnesses without seeing a GP

NHS Minor Ailment Scheme logo

Help for common illnesses

If you want help dealing with a common illness such as a cold, cough or diarrhoea, you may be able to use the free NHS Minor Ailment Scheme at selected pharmacies, including some Boots pharmacies. Our pharmacist will be able to offer advice and may be able to offer you medicines for a minor illness without you having to book an appointment to see your GP.

Who is the service for?

Schemes vary between locations, but the NHS Minor Ailment Scheme is for adults and children who:

  • Are registered with a GP surgery which is taking part in the scheme
  • Want treatment for a minor illness included in your local scheme

Medicines can be supplied free of charge to the customer if they are exempt from NHS prescription charges.

The NHS Minor Ailment Scheme is available in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but only in selected pharmacies across England and Wales. Ask your local Boots pharmacy whether they offer the scheme and they'll check if you're eligible to receive it.

How it works

1

Talk to a pharmacist about your illness and they will offer advice

2

If a medicine is needed, the pharmacist will check your eligibility and whether the illness is covered by the scheme

3

A suitable medicine may be offered to you*

*Charges will apply if you normally pay for your prescriptions. If you're exempt, for example people under 16 or over 60, then you won't pay for the medicine as this service is funded by the NHS.

What minor illnesses are covered?

Illnesses supported within the scheme may differ between locations. Some illnesses covered include:

  • Back-ache, sprains and strains
  • Colds
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Constipation
  • Coughs
  • Diarrhoea
  • Earache
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Hay fever
  • Head lice
  • Headache and fever
  • Heartburn and indigestion
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Mild eczema and dermatitis
  • Minor fungal skin infections
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Nappy rash
  • Sore throat
  • Teething
  • Threadworm
  • Thrush

Benefits

  • Convenient: No need to make an appointment
  • Advice: Pharmacist can refer you to a GP if necessary
  • Flexible: Many pharmacies are open at the weekend

Eligibility and type of illness covered by the scheme varies by locality. Please check in store for details. Service subject to pharmacist availability.

Find your nearest pharmacy