General information

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Prescriptions supplied by GPs and hospitals are dispensed at chemists and in some instances the larger supermarkets, both of which also stock a wide range of patient remedies, cosmetics and other toiletries. Some hospital prescriptions are dispensed at the hospital pharmacy. These services are available at present free of charge to retired persons, children and pregnant women. Contraceptives prescribed by GPs are available to women free of charge through the NHS.

Pharmacies / chemists and drug stores

Chemists shops are open during normal hours (usually 09.00 to 17.30/18.00 - chemists in small towns and suburbs usually close an hour at lunchtime). In most towns, chemists operate a rota system so that at least one is open in each neighbourhood during the early evening (including Sundays) to dispense urgent prescriptions, details are given in the local press and there are sometimes notices on the chemist’s door. In central London, there are chemists and drug stores open 24 hours a day. Also many of the larger supermarkets now offer dispensing services within their stores.

Vaccinations and health requirements

There are no required vaccinations for the UK, but it is recommended that you be vaccinated against the normal childhood illnesses such as measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and diphtheria, tetanus, and polio speak to your GP about getting these vaccinations.

Special needs

If any member of your family has a chronic or special health condition, it should be determined well before travelling.  Anyone with specific allergies or reactions to drugs should wear a bracelet clearly showing the specific problems. Speak to your GP about obtaining one of these bracelets.

Private healthcare providers

It is increasingly more common to take out private medical cover; below are links to some of the main UK providers.