Is child medicine free - even without a doctor's perscription?


I was hoping someone could clarify this for me.

The other day someone told me that it's possible to request essential child medicine for free at the pharmacy without a doctor's prescription letter if the pharmacist agrees that it's necessary for the child.

I was wondering whether anyone else has heard of this and whether there is any NHS guidance on this.

I feel I should know exactly where I stand on this so as not to make a fool of myself next time I need medicine for my baby.


  • Gillyx
    Gillyx Posts: 6,847
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Yes to an extent. It's called the minor ailment scheme.

    For things like Calpol/Iburpofen though I'd just buy them, easy enough to pick up on your weekly shop.
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  • Janepig
    Janepig Posts: 16,780 Forumite
    Gillyx wrote: »
    Yes to an extent. It's called the minor ailment scheme.

    For things like Calpol/Iburpofen though I'd just buy them, easy enough to pick up on your weekly shop.

    I agree with this. You can get non branded stuff in Poundland or Poundworld, Homebargains, etc.... The NHS has got enough to spend out on without having to dish out medicines that only cost you a quid or less. I also get DS non branded hayfever meds for £1 in Tesco.

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  • jackyann
    jackyann Posts: 3,433 Forumite
    It is only the pharmacies that offer a specific NHS minor ailment scheme: so you need to check on NHS choices or your local NHS site to find out who they are.
    Theoretically you ask for an assessment of your child's minor ailment, not just for "paracetamol"; however I have no practical experience of this in pharmacies.
    I have done minor ailment assessments at walk-in centres & the like (but not pharmacies) and we were aware that some parents came, not because they needed the advice, but to get the free medication. I don't blame them if they are hard up, so this scheme is to avoid that, but I have no experience of how it works in practice.

    I think it is a good idea to keep basic medicines by you. A child with a minor ailment is usually better if cared for at home; of course if you have concerns about dealing with it, then you should seek advice.
  • suejb2
    suejb2 Posts: 1,918
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    A few of my local chemists are in this scheme.It's called "care at the chemist" in my area and I have used it a few times for Head lice lotion, paracetamol,ibuprofen wart cream.The patient has to be with you so you can't walk in off the street and ask for stuff,but it's great if you can't get an appointment or script. I don't want to use an appointment slot just to get head lice lotion so I nip to the chemist.
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