Self-referral :

Minor ailments, Eye conditions and Serious illness


Minor Illness

It is estimated that every year, 50 million visits to the GP are made for minor ailments such as coughs and colds, mild eczema, and athlete's foot, which could be easily managed by a Community Pharmacist.

Community Pharmacists offer professional free health advice on everyday illnesses, such as cough, colds, aches and pains. They can also advise about prescribed and over-the-counter medicines.  They may signpost you to speak to a GP if they feel this is more appropriate.

Pharmacists can also offer expertise on health eating, obesity and giving up smoking. 

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Keeping a well stocked medicine cabinet at home can help you treat many minor ailments. Colds, coughs, indigestion and many other minor complaints can all be treated with medicines that are available over the counter.

Your pharmacist can advise on what you might find useful to keep in your medicine cabinet. Always follow the instructions on the medicine label and consult your doctor if the illness continues or becomes more severe.

Link to advice re earwax

Link to advice re warts and verrucae

Link to advice re Home BP monitoring


Pharmacy First Service

The Pharmacy First enables patients to access treatment from their local pharmacy free of charge.


Conditions currently covered include:

  • Oral/ vaginal thrush

  • Headlice

  • Threadworms

  • Athlete's foot

  • Groin itch

  • Diarrhoea

  • Cold sores

  • Mouth ulcers

  • Ear wax

  • Haemorrhoids

  • Scabies

  • Acne

  • verrucae


Eye conditions

The Northern Ireland Primary Eyecare Assessment and Referral Scheme (PEARS). It is a service provided by most Optometry Practices across N. Ireland.


You can visit the website here:

Examples of appropriate conditions include red eyes, sudden reduction in vision, flashes and/ or floaters, suspected foreign body in the eye.

Serious Illness/ Emergency

Emergency Department (A&E)

Major A&E departments assess and treat patients who have serious injuries or illnesses. Generally, you should visit A&E or call 999 for emergencies, such as:

  • loss of consciousness,

  • severe pain not easing with simple analgesia

  • acute confused state,

  • persistent, severe chest pain, or

  • breathing difficulties.


If you are injured or seriously ill, you should go, or be taken, to A&E. If an ambulance is needed you can call 999, the emergency phone number in the UK.

Major A&E departments offer access 365 days a year and usually open 24 hours a day. Be aware that not all hospitals have an A&E department.

A new Consultant led Urgent Care Centre has recently opened in the Downe Hospital's Emergency Department. This is operating 8am-6pm, Monday- Friday on an appointment only basis.

To access this service you must call 028 4483 8091