Community Pharmacy

Community pharmacists like GPs, nurses, dentists and other healthcare professionals, are part of the NHS family. Every day about 1.6 million people visit a pharmacy in England.

Community pharmacies range from large chain stores, often on the high street or in supermarkets to smaller independently owned pharmacies often serving smaller or more rural communities. Many Pharmacies are open long hours offering healthcare advice, without the need for an appointment, when other health care professionals are unavailable.

The traditional role of the community pharmacist as the healthcare professional who dispenses prescriptions written by doctors has changed. In recent years community pharmacists have been developing clinical services in addition to the traditional dispensing role to allow better integration and team working with the rest of the NHS.


Out of Hours Medicines and Prescriptions

If you run out of medicine or your prescription outside of your GP surgery's normal opening hours and need some urgently even if you're away from home go to the Out of Hours Medicines page of the website.


Why should you seek the help of a Pharmacist?

As qualified healthcare professionals, Pharmacists can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble, earache, cystitis, skin rashes, baby teething, red eye and aches and pains. They are also trained to provide health and wellbeing advice.

Pharmacists undertake a four year Masters in Pharmacy degree course followed by a one year placement working in a pharmacy under the supervision of an experienced pharmacist. At the end of this year they take a professional examination and those who successfully complete the examination are able to register as a pharmacist.

Pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need if your symptoms suggest something more serious, for example, they will tell you if you need to see a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional.

Most pharmacies have a private consultation room where you can discuss issues with pharmacy staff without being overheard.


What help and services do Pharmacies provide?

Community Pharmacies provide a range of services and help ranging from:

  • A Repeat Dispensing Service. This service allows you to collect your regular repeat prescription medicines direct from your local pharmacy for an agreed period of time, without having to go back to your GP. You will need to give your permission to your GP for him/her to share information with your chosen pharmacist. When you need your prescription, instead of requesting it from your GP, you will be able to get your medicines directly from your local pharmacy.
  • Medicines Use Reviews* (MURs). An MUR is a consultation between the pharmacist and a patient that lasts approximately 10-20 minutes. It provides an opportunity for the patient to discuss how they use their medicines and to find out more about them; and the service is designed to supplement (and not replace) the more in depth clinical reviews that are conducted at GP practices. * This service is being replaced Apr 21 with the roll out of the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service
  • New Medicine Service (NMS). The service is for people who have received their first prescription for a medicine to treat any of the following conditions:
    • asthma
    • lung conditions such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema
    • type 2 diabetes
    • high blood pressure
    • conditions where you take a medicine to control the way your blood clots.
  • Disposal of Unwanted Medicines. If you have any medicines that you no longer use, you can take them to your local pharmacy for safe disposal.
  • Other services. that may be available at your local pharmacy:
    • you may be referred to a pharmacy for advice after calling NHS 111
    • emergency contraception
    • asthma inhaler use and advice
    • chlamydia screening and treatment
    • stop smoking service
    • blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar testing
    • substance misuse service, including needle and syringe exchange schemes
    • weight management service
    • flu vaccination


Useful links



Review Date: 2021-02-26
Review Due: 2022-02-26
Model Publication Scheme Class: Class 9: Services Commissioned



Medicines Optimisation


On this page

  • Role of Medicines Optimisation
  • Ask your Pharmacist
  • Branded verses Generic prescribing of medicines
  • Help with health costs
  • Surrey Heartlands CG Medicines Optimisation Team
  • Antibiotic Resistance


Role of Medicines Optimisation

The use of medicines is the most common therapeutic intervention. It is estimated that that 15-20% of a CCG’s money is spent on medicines. Medicines Optimisation is simply looking at all aspects of the safe supply, use and disposal of medicines.

Effective Medicines Optimisation will help contribute towards:

  • Improving health
  • Improving patient care and satisfaction
  • Reducing medication wastage

Prescribing is a key component of Medicines Optimisation. Doctors or other healthcare staff accredited as prescribers can prescribe medicines for patients under their care using a written order or prescription. Whilst prescribers can decide on whatever medication they think is appropriate for the patient, they are expected to take into account the evidence for the clinical and cost effectiveness of the medicines they prescribe.


Ask Your Pharmacist

  • Pharmacists across provide a range of services.
  • 96% of people can get to a pharmacy within 20 minutes by walking or using public transport.
  • Community pharmacists provide rapid access, without appointment, to a healthcare professional and now offer a range of clinical and public health services.
  • Ask Your Pharmacist, it may save you making an unnecessary trip to your GP or A&E.


Help with Health Costs

You can find more information on prescription charges, prescription exemptions and health costs by clicking here. Please discuss the prepayment certificate with your pharmacist if you pay for your prescriptions and have to have regular prescriptions since you may be able to save money.

  • Help with Health Costs - site with information on help with health costs including prescription prepayment certificates.


Surrey Heartlands CCG Medicines Optimisation Team

Your Medicines Optimisation team is a dedicated group of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working towards the common goal of improving the use of medicines across Surrey Heartlands. Within Surrey Heartlands there are four teams located within each Integrated Care Partnership (ICP). Our aim is to ensure that patients within Surrey Heartlands get the medicines they need to achieve the greatest health outcomes for both the individual and the local community within the resources available.

We use our experience and knowledge of medicines to ensure medicines use is as safe as possible. We constantly review new evidence and guidelines so that everyone can obtain the best outcomes from the medicines that they take.

By working closely with all members of local GP practices, our aims are to:

  • promote effective prescribing to prevent, as well as treat, disease to keep our local population healthy in future years.
  • help patients with long-term conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, to use their medicines effectively to reduce disease progression and keep them healthier and independent for longer.
  • review new drugs that come on to the market and ensure that drugs that have been appraised by NICE are made available to those who will benefit most from them.
  • tackle the issue of wasted medicines which has been estimated to cost the NHS £300 million each year, of which £150 million is avoidable.

We also work closely with other local organisations including community pharmacies, Acute Trusts, borough councils and community health services to proactively deliver a quality service and help patients make the best use of their medicines. Read more about how we are collaborating together through Integrating Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation (IPMO) across Surrey Heartlands.


Did you know?

  • If you have any unused medicines at home, you should take them to your local community pharmacy for disposal
  • If you have any queries or difficulties with your medicines you should first talk to your community pharmacist
  • Local prescribing decisions are available to view on the Prescribing Advisory Database.


Antibiotic resistance

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats facing us today.

  • Why it is relevant to you
    Without effective antibiotics many routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous. Setting broken bones, basic operations, even chemotherapy and animal health all rely on access to antibiotics that work.
  • What we want you to do
    To slow resistance we need to cut the unnecessary use of antibiotics. We invite the public, students and educators, farmers, the veterinary and medical communities and professional organisations, to become Antibiotic Guardians.
    Choose one simple pledge about how you’ll make better use of antibiotics and help save these vital medicines from becoming obsolete.
  • Visit to make your pledge.


You can help to keep antibiotics effective.



Review Date: 2021-02-26
Review Due: 2022-02-26
Model Publication Scheme Class: Class 9: Services Commissioned

NHS 111, Walk in and Out-of-Hours

When you need help quickly but it’s not a life threatening emergency there are a range of services that can help. The services outlined below can give advice and treatment if your GP practice is closed or if you are injured or ill and you are not sure what to do. People in Surrey who need urgent NHS care are being asked to call NHS 111 before they decide to walk into the local Emergency Department (ED), or as many people know it, A&E.

NHS 111

NHS 111 can help if you have an urgent medical problem and need advice.


Get help online or on the phone

To get help from NHS 111, you can:

  • go to (for people aged five and over)
  • call 111


NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobiles.

If you have difficulties communicating or hearing, you can:

  • call 18001 111 on a textphone
  • use the NHS 111 British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter service if you’re deaf and want to use the phone service


How NHS 111 works

You answer questions about your symptoms on the website, or by speaking to a fully trained adviser on the phone. You can also ask for a translator if you need one.

Depending on the situation you will:

  • find out what local service can help
  • be connected to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist or GP
  • get a face-to-face appointment if you need one
  • be told how to get any medicine you need
  • get self-care advice.


Easy read information on the NHS 111 service can be downloaded from the NHS 111 assets website.

NHS 111 does not replace 999 or A&E for medical emergencies - when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk. NHS 111 does not replace 999 or A&E for medical emergencies - when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk. However, people who need urgent NHS care are being asked to call NHS 111 before they decide to walk into their local A&E. This is to ensure that patients can access the clinical service they need, first time. It will help the NHS to maintain social distancing, reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 and keep patients and staff as safe as possible.

You will be spoken to by a trained professional and a clinician if needed. If it is decided you need to go to the emergency department then you will be given a suitable time to attend and staff at the hospital will be expecting you. That means less waiting around and faster treatment.

Patients and a wide range of healthcare professionals helped to redesign the NHS 111 service for Surrey. Launched in 2019, the redesigned service aims to meet most healthcare needs on the first call – including a consultation with a doctor, nurse, dentist, pharmacist or mental health specialist if needed and appointments booked with many local services.

Care UK deliver NHS 111 and GP out-of-hours services in Surrey Heartlands. Find out more here


GP out-of-hours services

If you feel that you need to see a doctor outside of GP practice opening hours (known as ‘out-of-hours’) and it is not an emergency please call 111. The Surrey Heartlands GP out-of-hours service does not offer walk-in appointments, and can only be accessed by calling NHS 111.

The out-of-hours service is for urgent cases only. If your problem isn’t urgent, please contact your GP surgery when it is next open.

The GP out-of-hours service is open Monday to Friday from 6.30pm to 8.00am, and for 24 hours at weekends and during bank holidays.

NHS 111 will tell you if you need a face-to-face appointment and this could be either at a local healthcare centre or a home visit.

Find out more by visiting the Surrey NHS 111 service website.


Walk-in Centres

Nurse-led NHS walk-in centres can help if you have an urgent but non-life threatening injury or illness. No appointment is needed. They can provide a quicker and more appropriate route to treatment than hospital A&E departments.

Ashford Walk-in Centre  Ashford Health Centre, London Road, Ashford TW15 3FE

Open Monday – Sunday (365 days a year), 8am – 8pm.
Tel: 01784 884 000. For adults or children aged 2 years and over. Find out more.

Woking Walk-in Centre Woking Community Hospital Heathside Road Woking GU22 7HS

Open Monday – Sunday (365 days a year), 8am – 8pm.
Tel: 01483 846 209. For adults or children aged 2 years and over. Find out more.


Minor Injury Units

Nurse-led minor injury units can also provide a quicker and more appropriate treatment than going to A&E. Treatment is available for minor injuries such as:

  • Bites / stings
  • Cuts / grazes
  • Minor burns / scalds
  • Minor eye / ear injuries, including removal of foreign bodies from the ears or nose
  • Minor head injuries
  • Removal of splinters
  • Sprains / strains / limb injuries
  • Suspected fractures / broken bones
  • Neck pain


No appointment is needed.

Here are the details for our minor injuries units:

Haslemere Minor Injury Unit Haslemere Hospital, Church Lane, Haslemere, Surrey, GU27 2BJ

Open Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm. Tel: 01483 782 334. For adults or children aged 2 years and over. Find out more.

Caterham Dene Minor Injury Unit Caterham Dene Community Hospital, Church Road, Caterham, CR3 5RA 

Open Monday – Sunday (365 days a year), 8am – 8pm. Tel: 01883 837512. For adults aged 18 years and over. Find out more.



Urgent Treatment Centres

Urgent Treatment Centres (UTC) treat minor illnesses and injuries that are urgent but not life-threatening. They treat adults and children of any age and can deal with the most common ailments people attend A&E for. They are GP-led but are not an alternative to your GP practice, which should usually be contacted first. You can walk-in to the service or an appointment can be booked through NHS 111. 

St Peter’s Hospital, Urgent Treatment Centre St Peter’s Hospital, Guildford Road, Chertsey, Surrey, KT16 0PZ Open Monday – Sunday (365 days a year), 8am – midnight. Find out more. 



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Eye Health and Ophthalmology


Page content to follow.

Model Publication Scheme Class: Class 9: Services Commissioned



Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you can access helpful checks, tests and services which are available face to face and online.


Patient education also supports those with diabetes to keep healthy and helps reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. If you’re worried you, your child or someone you know has diabetes, visit the Diabetes UK website to find out what the signs and symptoms of diabetes are.

Check out what Diabetes UK are doing in our region, across the South East, which includes weekly online peer support groups for those with Type 1 diabetes.

On this page you will find information on the following:


Annual health check

When you have diabetes, you’re entitled to certain checks, tests and services every year to help you get the care you need. You’ll know this as your annual review. When you're first diagnosed it's especially helpful to find out what these checks, tests and services are. There are 15 you should be getting, so we call this package of care your 15 Healthcare Essentials.

For further information please see Healthcare Essentials on the Diabetes UK website.


Annual eye screening

Diabetes can lead to eye damage called retinopathy. Everyone living with diabetes over the age of 12 will get an invite to a regular eye screening, if you have not received an invitation please contact your GP Practice who will refer you.

At first the screening will be every year. But depending on your results that could change. Eye screening is important for you regardless of the type of diabetes you have as having diabetes means you’re more at risk of eye problems such as retinopathy which can lead to sight loss. Retinopathy doesn’t show any symptoms in the early stage but can be spotted and treated early by having your regular eye screening. You can find more information by visiting Diabetic eye screening on the Diabetes UK website.




Education for people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes

A record number of people in the UK are living with Type 2 diabetes and three in five cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed. Sadly many people will experience potentially preventable complications because of diabetes, simply because they don’t know enough about their condition and how to manage it.

The good news is if you're at risk of Type 2 diabetes there are lots of small changes you can make to prevent diabetes from developing in the first place. Diabetes UK are working together with NHS England and Public Health England to provide Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NDPP), the first national programme to help those who are at high risk of Type 2 diabetes.

The programme gives participants personalised support to help them achieve a healthy weight, improve their diet and become more physically active, all together which have been shown to reduce the risk of developing the condition. You’ll find more information about the NDPP on the Diabetes UK prevention page.

Education for people with Type 1 diabetes

The aim of patient education is for people with diabetes to improve their knowledge, skills and confidence, enabling them to take increasing control of their own condition and integrate effective self-management into their daily lives. High-quality structured education can have a profound effect on biomedical outcomes, and can significantly improve quality of life and satisfaction.

Diabetes education: learning to look after your diabetes provides more information on Diabetes Education, why it is important and some of the courses available.

It is important that people with diabetes lead a healthy and active lifestyle and you can find information about healthy eating and exercise from Diabetes UK and from Active Surrey.


Diabetes education programmes available near you:


  • East Surrey

    For people with Type 1 diabetes, Surrey and Sussex Hospital Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH), provide a Carb Counting course for people with Type One diabetes, speak to your diabetes professional at the hospital. Find more information via the Surrey and Sussex Hospital Healthcare website.

    People with Type 2 diabetes registered with a GP practice in East Surrey can ask their GP or Practice Nurse to refer them to the DESMOND education programme provided by First Community Health and Care across East Surrey. The DESMOND course is offered to groups either as a whole day or two half day sessions.


  • Guildford and Waverley

    For people with Type 1 diabetes, Royal Surrey County Hospital offer a one day, group education course for people with Type 1 diabetes called CEDRIC. Speak to your diabetes professional at the hospital who can refer you. Find more information here.

    People with Type 2 diabetes registered with a GP practice in Guildford and Waverley can ask their GP or Practice Nurse to refer them to the DESMOND education programme provided at various locations by the Royal Surrey County Hospital dietetic team. The DESMOND course is offered to groups either as a whole day or two half day sessions, for more information on the DESMOND programme please visit here.


  • North West Surrey

    People with Type 1 diabetes are offered a face to face group education course from Ashford and St Peters Hospital called STEPH. The programme consists of weekly two and a half hour sessions for three weeks OR a one day session. The course is held at The Stephanie Marks Diabetes Centre, speak to your Consultant at the hospital who can refer you. Find more information via the Ashford and St. Peters Hospitals website.

    Please note: During COVID all face to face courses have been paused, currently people with Type 1 diabetes are encouraged to complete the Bertie course which is free and available online.

    People with Type 2 diabetes registered with a GP in North West Surrey are encouraged to attend the X-Pert Diabetes Programme provided by Self-Management UK. The courses run as six group sessions lasting two and a half hours over a period of six weeks and are available face to face or via webinars, you can find more information on X-Pert. You don't need to ask your GP to refer you to the course, you can sign up immediately here.


  • Surrey Downs

    People with Type 1 are offered an education course called BERTIE from Epsom and St. Helier Hospital. The BERTIE course involves attending a six-hour group session once a week for four consecutive weeks. 

    Please note: During COVID all face to face courses have been paused, currently people with Type 1 diabetes are encouraged to complete the Bertie course which is free and available online.

    People with Type 2 diabetes registered with a GP in Surrey Downs are encouraged to attend the EMPOWER Diabetes Programme provided by Spirit Healthcare. The four hour course is available to groups of people either face to face or via webinars. You don't need to ask your GP to refer you to the course, you can find out more about the course and sign up immediately on Empower.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar (glucose) that develops during pregnancy and usually disappears after giving birth. It can happen at any stage of pregnancy, but is more common in the second or third trimester.

Gestational Diabetes happens when your body cannot produce enough insulin to meet your extra needs in pregnancy, and can cause problems for you and your baby during pregnancy and after birth. However, the risks can be reduced if the condition is detected early and well managed. You can find out more, by visiting the NHS web page Gestational Diabetes


Mental Wellbeing Services

Living with Diabetes can be demanding and overwhelming. It can place an additional burden on our already busy lives due to, managing medication, testing, diet and the longer term complications around having Diabetes. Research tells us that one in three people with Diabetes can experience symptoms of depression and anxiety that can make managing Diabetes more difficult. Talking Therapies can provide you with proven ways to reduce Stress, Depression and Anxiety symptoms which may be affecting your ability to manage your Diabetes. 

Visit the Healthy Surrey website to find details about what Local Mental Health Services have to offer and who you can contact for support.


Podiatry (foot) services


Why are people with diabetes more at risk for foot problems?

Visit the Diabetes UK website to hear from a diabetic patient about foot problems and to read more on why people with diabetes are more likely to develop foot problems.

How to take care of my feet to prevent foot problems?

We strongly recommend to check your feet on a daily basis. Whether you’re about to put your socks on, or you’re taking them off before bed, have a good look. Any changes, and you should see a healthcare professional straight away. This is how we can prevent major foot problems and amputations. Have a look at the Diabetes UK website on how to check your feet.

Know the signs of serious foot problems when you have diabetes

Diabetes UK have lots of information about how to recognise serious foot problems.  You can also order their free leaflet 10 steps to prevent foot problems.

Attend your annual foot check

A trained professional should check your bare feet once a year. It’s a good chance to check anything you might have spotted with them yourself. But don’t wait a whole year to ask them. If you notice a problem – get it seen as soon as you can.

Read more here on what to expect during an annual foot check.

15 healthcare essentials for diabetes for good diabetes care and prevention of diabetes complications. Foot care is one of the 15 healthcare essentials for people living with diabetes find out about the others here.

Smoking negatively impacts your feet

Healthy Surrey have lots of information, tips and advice if you need help to stop smoking.

You can find more information on how to take care of your feet on the following websites:


What to do when you have a foot problem?

Know who to call when you have problems with your feet. Note down the phone numbers of your local services such as your GP out of hours service Surrey Heartlands wide.

Please don’t wait around with foot problems, contact your health care professional straight away.


Useful links to podiatry services near where you live



Technology and Diabetes

There are lots of different types of diabetes technology, like insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGM for short). When you hear your healthcare professional talking about diabetes technology, they’ll usually be referring to tech that helps you take insulin or tech to check your blood sugar levels. You can find more information on the types of diabetes technology on the Diabetes UK website.


Children and Diabetes

Most children are affected by Type 1 diabetes and will be cared for by the local hospital specialist team. Type 2 diabetes occurs more commonly in adults, but Type 2 diabetes in children is on the rise, fuelled by the obesity epidemic.

You can find help and advice on helping your child to understand diabetes and how to cope with caring for a child with Type One Diabetes on the Diabetes UK website.


Managing Your Diabetes

As well as attending your annual health checks and eye screening, adopting a healthy lifestyle can help you manage your diabetes. It may also improve your mental well-being, energy levels, weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol. Understanding Diabetes enables you to identify the important factors for a healthy lifestyle with diabetes which you can learn about through attending a Diabetes educational course.

  1. Follow a balanced diet – to manage your blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy weight. Both are important when you have diabetes and Diabetes UK provides more information on their Your lifestyle diabetes and food web page.

  2. Being physically active – as exercise is good for diabetes, see some suggestions for staying active by visiting Diabetes UK. For information on local activities across Surrey, visit Active Surrey.

  3. Quit smoking – as if you have diabetes, you already have an increased chance of developing cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack, stroke or circulatory problems in the legs. Combined with smoking you make the chances of developing these diseases even higher.  If you would like support in quitting smoking please see your GP or you can register for support by calling OneYou on 01737 652168 or visiting and clicking ‘Get Started’.

  4. Manage stress – as if you’re feeling stressed, your body releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This should give you an energy boost for a ‘fight or flight’ response. But the hormones actually make it harder for insulin to work properly (known as insulin resistance) and as energy can’t get into your cells, your blood sugar levels rise. Find out more about stress and diabetes on the Diabetes UK website and seek support from a local mental wellbeing service.

  5. Reducing your alcohol intake - Drinking too much alcohol is associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. Current guidelines recommend not regularly drinking more than 14 units per week, and that these units should be spread evenly over 3-4 days. If you are worried that you might be drinking too much, take the Alcohol Test. It’s free, quick and confidential. Work out how risky your drinking is, access personalised advice online and find out where you can get support in Surrey. It takes just two minutes.

    If your Alcohol Test score is between 16 and 19 and you need more support contact i-access who are piloting a free and confidential alcohol Extended Brief Interventions (EBI) available by telephone. If your Alcohol Test score is 20 or more, this indicates possible dependency, we would strongly recommend seeking advice from a health professional at i-access.


Local support groups

Diabetes UK has active support groups working locally all over the United Kingdom. Groups typically meet once a month, but they often also take part in many other activities such as fundraising, campaigning and raising awareness. Find your local support group or why not set up your own if there is no group in your area?

Guildford and Waverley and Surrey Downs already have support groups.



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