What is community pharmacy?

A community pharmacy is the most common type of pharmacy. There are around 14,000 community pharmacies in cities, towns and villages across England, Scotland and Wales.

They are found at the heart of the communities – wherever people live, work and study you will find community pharmacies. You will have seen them on the high street, near GP surgeries, at supermarkets, at neighbourhood centres or at train stations and airports.

Community pharmacy teams work directly with patients. They dispense medicines, provide guidance and recommendations on which medicines to take and how to take medicines, safely and advise on general health and wellbeing. Some community pharmacists also prescribe medicine and in the future all newly qualified pharmacists will be able to prescribe medicine.

Community pharmacies also provide a range of clinical services including vaccinations, contraception, support to stop smoking and long-term condition management.

During the pandemic, pharmacy teams have played an essential role in vaccinating patients against coronavirus and in providing support and advice to patients, wherever and whenever it is needed. There are many inspiring stories – which showcase just how valuable a career in community pharmacy is, you can read some of them below.

Community pharmacies have long opening hours (with many open on the weekend and in the evenings). Because of their long opening hours and the fact patients don’t need an appointment to speak to a pharmacist, community pharmacies are often the first point of contact for someone seeking advice on health and wellbeing.

They are a crucial part of the health care system and make a difference to millions of patients everyday.

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