Treatments for seven conditions such as sore throats and earaches are now available directly from pharmacists, without the need to visit a doctor.
The Pharmacy First scheme will allow most chemists in England to issue prescriptions to patients without appointments or referrals.
NHS England says it will free up around 10 million GP appointments a year.
Pharmacy groups welcome the move but there is concern about funding and recent chemist closures.
Pharmacists can carry out confidential consultations and advise whether any treatment, including antibiotics, are needed for the list of seven minor ailments.
Patients needing more specialist or follow-up care will be referred onwards.
Patients can access the new service by walking straight into a chemist or being referred by NHS 111, urgent treatment centres, emergency departments or their GP. Those who are not registered with a GP can still access the service.
Pharmacies already offer advice on medicines – when to take it, information on side-effects and how to dispose of it.
You can also get emergency contraception and blood pressure checks at most pharmacies in England. Some offer advice on how to stop smoking, how to lose weight as well as screening and treatment for chlamydia, a common sexually-transmitted infection.
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