We will not be providing face-to-face advice or training for the foreseeable future. We will contact existing advice clients by phone. Our staff will continue to support our members and can be reached via telephone and email as usual.

We are working hard to move our training, where possible, to digital. For any queries, please contact our training team at [email protected]

We can only provide advice to people living in Northern Ireland. 

Helpline contact details:

Welfare Changes ring 0808 802 0020 or email [email protected]
Tax & Benefits ring 0800 988 2377 or email [email protected]
Business Debt ring 0800 083 8018 or email [email protected]
Debt Action ring 0800 028 1881 or email [email protected]
EU Settlement Scheme ring 0800 138 6545 or email [email protected]
For Historical Institutional Abuse advice and support call 02890 645919 email [email protected]

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Chemists, or pharmacists, are experts on medicines and can give professional advice on medication and common conditions without an appointment.

In fact, it may be useful for you to visit your local pharmacist before you decide to make an appointment to see your GP.

A man may need the help of a pharmacist. Issues that your pharmacist can help you with include:

  • Prescriptions: Medicines and treatments
  • Minor illnesses (see below)
  • Advice on healthy living
  • Health monitoring advice (regarding blood pressure and diabetes, for example)

Your local pharmacist can advise you on minor illnesses such as:

  • Upset stomach
  • Aches and pains
  • Allergies
  • Eye infections
  • Skin conditions
  • Women’s health issues 
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Outside of normal hours

There should be arrangements for dispensing urgent prescriptions outside normal hours including weekends.

If you need to go to a pharmacist outside of normal hours – for example, before 9am or after 530 pm on weekdays – some larger stores such as Boots, TESCO and Sainsburys operate a late or Sunday pharmacy service.

Local papers also advertise which pharmacies operate Sunday opening times for emergencies.

Otherwise, visit the Business Services Organisation website for the pharmaceutical rota and click on your local area for the relevant information

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Since the 1st April 2010, prescriptions are now available free-of-charge in Northern Ireland.

However, if you see a doctor privately, any medicines prescribed cannot be provided free-of-charge by the Health Service (HS). Unfortunately, you will have to pay the full retail cost of the medicine.

Furthermore, if you see a doctor under the HS but you are prescribed a medicine which is not specified on the HS authorised list, the medicine will be deemed to have been prescribed privately and you will have to pay for it in full.


Other help at the chemist

Pharmacists can help if you need assistance with taking your medicines. For example, they will help if you find labels hard to read, packaging difficult to open or tablets difficult to swallow. They will also help if you have to take many tablets and have difficulty taking doses at the prescribed times.

Some chemists may offer the following services:

  • Prescription collection service – at the patient’s request, they will collect prescriptions from your GP practice
  • Home delivery service – this allows prescription medicines to be delivered to the patient. It is sometimes restricted to housebound, disabled or frail patients as it limits the opportunity for contact between the pharmacist and the patient or their carer.

You have the right to decide which pharmacist you use to dispense your prescriptions and to have your prescription dealt with as quickly as possible.

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