Some medicines for minor illnesses can be bought over the counter without a prescription, so you can treat yourself without needing to see a GP.
Simple painkillers and cough remedies, for example, can be bought directly from supermarkets and other stores.
Other types of medicine, such as eyedrops or emergency contraception, are available without a prescription but need a pharmacist's supervision, so are only available to buy from behind the pharmacy counter.
Prescription-only medicines, such as antibiotics, must be prescribed by a qualified health professional.
This may be a GP, hospital doctor, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, optometrist, physiotherapist or podiatrist.
Repeat prescriptions - save yourself a trip to your GP by asking your pharmacist to manage your repeat prescriptions for you. If you take medication on a regular basis and your condition is stable, your GP may be able to offer a long-term repeat prescription so that your pharmacist can supply your medicine at regular intervals. In the event that you experience problems with your medicine, tell your pharmacist and they can consult your GP.