How Does the UK Medication System Work?

In England, if you are being seen by the National Health Service (NHS) and are prescribed a standard prescription the current charge per medication is £8.60. If you require other types of treatment that includes appliances etc this may incur higher expenses. Medications are free in Wales and Scotland. This does not cover eyecare or dental care, they are not part of the public health services, you would need to pay for these services.  

There are three classes of medication: Prescription Only Medication (POM), Pharmacy Only (P) and General Sales List Medications (GSL). For POM’s you must obtain a prescription from a registered prescribing doctor and these are fulfilled at a pharmacy.  (P) meds and (GSL) meds are medications that are available over the counter and are sold by pharmacies, you are able to consult with pharmacists on basic health issues. 

There are many types of medications available over the counter including remedies for cold and flu, heartburn and indigestion, child health, eye ear and oral care, dental, pain, smoking cessation and others. The prices of these are fairly standardised but vary across different pharmacy retailers. You are limited in the quantity you can buy as medications supplied from pharmacies over the counter are for short term use, if your symptoms persist and do not improve then you would be referred to a doctor. Pharmacists are equipped with the expertise to assess your ailment, and give you an over the counter solution, however they will always refer you to your doctor if they feel it necessary.