Can You Prescribe Antibiotics?


Antibiotics are medicines that fight bacterial infections and can save lives when used appropriately. At The Health Dispensary in Neath, Wales, we often get asked, “Can you prescribe antibiotics?” The answer is nuanced; understanding it can help patients navigate their healthcare options more effectively.

The Role of Pharmacists in Antibiotic Prescription

Pharmacists play a crucial role in the NHS, particularly in managing medications. In the UK, pharmacists undergo extensive training and education to ensure they are knowledgeable about various medications, including antibiotics. However, the ability to prescribe antibiotics is only granted to some pharmacists. Let’s break down the different scenarios:

Independent Prescribing Pharmacists

Some pharmacists undergo additional training to become independent prescribers. This qualification allows them to prescribe various medications, including antibiotics, without a doctor’s approval. These pharmacists can assess patients, diagnose conditions, and prescribe the necessary treatments. At The Health Dispensary, we have independent prescribing pharmacists who can offer these services, making healthcare more accessible and convenient for our patients.

Patient Group Directions (PGDs)

Pharmacists can supply and administer antibiotics under a Patient Group Direction (PGD) in certain situations. A PGD is a legal framework that allows specified healthcare professionals to provide and/or administer a medicine directly to patients with an identified clinical condition without a prescription. PGDs are typically used for specific conditions where the need for treatment is well-defined, such as minor infections or prophylactic treatments.

Collaboration with GPs

Pharmacists often work closely with General Practitioners (GPs) to ensure patients receive the appropriate antibiotics. Suppose a patient visits us with symptoms that might require antibiotics. In that case, we can offer initial advice and signpost to a GP for a prescription if necessary. If we receive a prescription where the antibiotic works against other medicines you may be taking, we will contact the GP and suggest a safer alternative.

The Importance of Responsible Antibiotic Use

One of the key messages we emphasise at The Health Dispensary is the importance of using antibiotics responsibly. Antibiotic resistance is an important message and occurs when bacteria become resistant to drugs designed to kill them. This resistance can make infections more difficult to treat when you need them. This has a knock-on effect of increasing the risk of disease spread.

When Are Antibiotics Needed?

Antibiotics only fight bacterial infections and do not work for viral infections like the common cold, flu, or sore throat. Misusing antibiotics for viral infections contributes to antibiotic resistance. It’s crucial for patients to follow the advice of Pharmacists and other healthcare professionals and only use antibiotics when prescribed.

The Role of Pharmacists in Education

Pharmacists are at the frontline of patient education regarding antibiotics. We provide guidance on the appropriate use of antibiotics, the importance of completing the prescribed course, and the potential side effects. Educating patients helps reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance and ensures better health outcomes.

Antibiotic Guardians in the UK

In the UK, the “Antibiotic Guardians” concept has been championed as part of a national effort to combat antibiotic resistance. This initiative encourages individuals, healthcare professionals, and organisations to pledge to take specific actions that contribute to the responsible use of antibiotics. By becoming Antibiotic Guardians, participants commit to practices such as not requesting antibiotics for viral infections, adhering strictly to prescribed antibiotic courses, and promoting antibiotic resistance awareness. This collective effort is crucial in safeguarding the effectiveness of antibiotics for future generations. At The Health Dispensary, we actively support this initiative by educating our patients and community about the importance of antibiotic stewardship, ensuring that everyone understands their role in preserving these vital medications.


While not all pharmacists can prescribe antibiotics, independent prescribing pharmacists and those working under PGDs can provide valuable services in this area. At The Health Dispensary, our team is dedicated to offering comprehensive care, including the appropriate use of antibiotics. Together with our community and other healthcare professionals, we can help ensure that antibiotics remain effective for future generations.

If you have any questions or need advice about antibiotics or other medications, don’t hesitate to reach out to our knowledgeable team. Your health and well-being are our top priorities.

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