Whisper whisper... free kiddie medicine - if you know where to go and what to say

As Shameless’ Frank Gallagher says, “Make poverty history, cheaper drugs now!” He could be on to something, and now Bitterwallet reader and mum-of-two Jo has been in touch with us after she got wind of a scheme which allows her to get free paracetamol-based medicine for her kids – over the counter from her local pharmacy.

“All you have to do,” she says “is walk in and ask for children’s pain relief under the Care At The Chemist scheme. There’s a registration form to fill in and then you get your medicine.”

Sounds plenty good and simple, and we suspect that it might be available to anyone who is entitled to free prescriptions. We say ‘suspect’ as there is very little information available online – almost as though the NHS are trying to keep it under their hats, lest we all bombard them for free bottles of Calpol.

We also suspect that only selected Primary Care Trust areas offer the scheme – with that in mind, if you think you might be eligible, your best bet is to have a word with your friendly local chemist and find out if you’re entitled.

If any of you have experienced free medication from Care At The Chemist and can enlighten us on how it all works, let’s have your comments.


  • sarah
    Yeah its called Self Care here, different places have diffrent names for it.... its common knowledge??!!!! There are posters in docotrs and chemists, and doctors tell you about it intead of writing prescriptions
  • sarah
    you can get alot of diffrent things, I get medanol (calpol alternative) ive had calomine lotion and priiton syrup aswell from there
  • Lumoruk
    Prescriptions are free in Wales and Scotland...duh!
  • sing2trees
    And only £3 in Northern Ireland...!
  • safc r.
    We had a prescription for medanol (Capol) and it was the chemist that told us that we can have it for free without a prescription if we just asked for it, having a bairn in the trolley helps anarl.
  • Andre
    I love calpol...i want some...
  • Amanda H.
    meh, calpol's ok, but I have actually had my stomach pumped out after drinking a whole bottle of venos. I thought it was absinthe!?
  • Honky S.
    Some places call it 'The Minor Ailments Scheme' as reported on HUKD. My chemist makes you go through an interrogation with his questioning before be passes across a cheaper version of Calpol mind you!!
  • jasmine p.
    It is actually called the "minor ailment scheme" or can be called direct care or may have other names in different regions of the country. The exact nature of the scheme works like this - if you or your child are ill and you do not pay for your prescriptions then you can go to a pharmacy and sign up with them. It is best to speak to a counter assistant about this and explain that you do not pay for your prescriptions and that you have a cold, headache, athletes foot etc and they may be able to give you some medicine free of charge. I say may as not all conditions/medicines are allowed to be given under this scheme. Another thing to know is that you probably wont get calpol but rather a cheaper version which is still paracetamol, but without all the extra cost of buying a brand name to the pharmacy.
  • jasmine p.
    Also, the scheme was designed to get ill people with something minor to go to their pharmacy instead of their Doctor. A lot of minor complaints can easily be diagnosed and treated by the pharmacy. This frees up the Doctor's time so that sick people with something more serious can get seen to more quickly by the Doctor.
  • Theo C.
    So when you folk say "if you get free prescriptions" does that mean some kind of exemption, due to income or receipt of benefits, or is that "free prescriptions" in the sense of all children under 16 receive their prescription medication free?
  • jasmine p.
    In Scotland, exemption means anyone under 16, over 60, on income support, job seekers allowance, NHS tax credits etc. Ideally you should bring proof of your exemption to the pharmacy with you, eg your NHS tax credit card. The pharmacy will enter your details on the computer and print off a registration form. If you are unsure if you are exempt, the pharmacy can go over the list of exemptions with you. Unfortunately if you pay for your prescriptions with a pre-payment certificate you are not entitled to this scheme.
  • Biffo B.
    I got all excited about this when I first heard about it: read the full story here:- http://www.hotukdeals.com/item/285097/free-medicines-for-minor-ailments-a/ Didn't last though: my PCT (South Cumbria) doesn't do it.
    Its called "Pharmacy First" in my area which is Leeds PCT. Not all pharmacies offer this service but there are selected ones that do - For instance my local one is in Sainsburys Pharmacy in Colton. I hold a pre paid card so am also entitled to free drugs under this scheme. Its a really good idea and they have a list of ailments that they will treat. Off the top of my head some of them are: Teething Thrush Headlice Headaches Cold/Flu symptoms Piles I would just like to add - I haven't needed to be treated for any of the above.....lol
  • Althea B.
    Hi there, I just come across your website searching on Google as I am looking for some material on yeast infections. Seems like a good site so I have bookmarked you and I will revisit tomorrow to have a proper read when i have more time. Keep up the good work.
  • jordan
    MAKE POVERTY HISTORY, CHEAPER DRUGS NOW! not the drugs i was looking for i cam across this sight looking for pictures of frank gallagher ...ironic free calpol would be nice...does it mix well with jack Daniels? where do i sign for this free drink
  • Hertlein
    Thank you. Using the law of attraction, I hope you manifest a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.
  • pharmacist a.
    Nice post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and I'm impressed! Extremely useful info particularly the closing section :) I care for such information much. I used to be seeking this certain info for a long time. Thank you and good luck.
  • facial f.
    I have to say that for the last couple of hours i have been hooked by the impressive posts on this blog. Keep up the great work.

What do you think?

Your comment