Pharmacies are places that offer clinical advice and offer non-prescription medicines for a range of minor illnesses. Their main role is to handle and give out your prescription set by a GP.

However, they offer a large range of other services, and are licenced to offer medical advice. Pharmacists undergo a four year full-time university degree plus a year’s work-placed preregistration training, so have knowledge in all health sectors.


A pharmacist’s most common role is dispensing of NHS prescriptions; however they offer several other services for you and your medicine:

  • access to the repeat prescription service (with agreement from your GP)
  • an emergency supply of medicine, subject to the decision of the pharmacist (you may need to pay for an emergency supply)
  • dispensing of non-prescription medicines like paracetamol
  • disposal of unwanted or out of date medicines


Pharmacists are also trained to give out a wide range of medical advice.

  • advice on treating minor health concerns and healthy living
  • inhaler technique
  • advice on taking medicine safely, and understanding the correct dose of a new medicine and how often you need to take it

Other features

  • Emergency contraception
  • Chlamydia screening and treatment
  • Blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar testing
  • Substance misuse service, including needle and syringe exchange schemes
  • Stop smoking service


If you feel comfortable doing so, it’s always best to mention your concern to the member of staff you are dealing with or their manager. They may be able to sort things out for you.

Each pharmacy must have a complaints manager. Their chief executive or a partner must act as the ‘responsible person’ who makes sure complaints are dealt with properly. You can complain by letter, email or by talking to someone at the pharmacy. You can find their contact details online, or by asking a member of staff at the pharmacy.

If you are not satisfied with the response, contact the North Central London Integrated Care Board (ICB), who deal with NHS practitioners in Camden and surrounding boroughs.

Please note: You cannot complain to the pharmacy manager and the ICB about the same issue, in accordance with the 2009 NHS Complaints Regulation.