The Chemist Shop

Local shops 1

Editorial Note: On Tuesday of this week, Donald Trump stated that a trade deal with the U.K. will hopefully include America taking a stake in our National Health Service! What? We have a saying here ‘Over my dead body!’ I hope to goodness that if Donald Trump’s hope ever comes true, my own will follow! ~ SueW.

The midweek word prompt over on GC and my site Weekly Prompts is Drug Store.

Not very long ago Gerry and I had a conversation about drug stores, health services and the differences between our respective countries. Gerry is nostalgic for the independently owned local drug stores that are now almost gone forever in North America since the independents sold out to the pharmaceutical giants, and I really do sympathise with him.

In the UK, the Chemist shop is the name we use for our local pharmacy, we do not use the American term Drug Store. Every High Street has a chemist shop, and I feel fortunate that these independently owned small shops are still a prominent feature of our daily lives, with thousands of them spread across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. I suppose in some ways we are a little old fashioned in our wish to preserve our high streets, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My local chemist shop is situated within a parade of shops in the heart of the village.


I’ve known David, my pharmacist for over thirty years, his pharmacist wife Jackie, a little less, and although technology figures highly in all UK pharmacies, the human touch is not lost here. For instance, if I picked up an over the counter drug, David could tell me without even looking at my computerised drug record whether my over the counter choice would clash with anything I was already taking. I believe this is the very thing Gerry is nostalgic for.

Some Chemist shops offer flu and travel vaccinations, many including my own, offer free consultations for minor health issues. The Chemist is also the place to purchase toiletries and health and beauty products. 

A number of, but not all of our supermarkets have pharmacy departments within the store.

Boots the Chemist is one of the larger retailers in the UK and is now known as Boots UK since being purchased by Walgreen in 2014, and as a result, Boots became a subsidiary of the new company, Walgreens Boots Alliance

According to Wikipedia,  Boots has over 2,500 shops across the United Kingdom and Ireland, ranging from local pharmacies to large health and beauty shops. Their shops are primarily located on the high streets and in shopping centres. They also provide optician and hearing care services within shops and as standalone practices. Boots also operates a retail website and since 1997 has run a loyalty card programme called the Boots Advantage Card. 

I’m not happy about large American pharmaceutical companies taking over our high streets and even less happy about the chain Lloyds Pharmacy, it is owned by the German company Celesio, which is, in turn, owned by the American McKesson Corporation.

Lloyds has purchased many of our high street chemist shops, but its reputation isn’t good; a couple of years ago it had to return over twelve million euros to the NHS for falsely claiming individual item prescription fees, it has also been accused of overcharging the NHS for drugs.

Collecting our prescriptions from the smaller chemist shops is often simpler than collecting from the larger stores; the queues normally consist of a steady flow of two to three people and the waiting time is short. Collecting a prescription from a Boots store often entails standing in a queue for some considerable time whilst waiting for your prescription, all the while holding a prescription number on a piece of paper, or returning later to collect it.

Some years ago, my GP’s surgery (physician’s office), was one of only three in the UK to pilot an online repeat prescription service and I became an early volunteer. If eligible, the repeat prescription is requested online, authorised at the GP’s surgery and sent electronically to the chemist of our choice. It is normally ready for collection the following day. The service is now generally offered throughout the UK. Repeat prescriptions usually consist of medications that are needed long-term. Any other medication request will require seeing a GP (doctor).

Once logged into the website I can request my prescriptions and can also make an appointment to see to the doctor of my choice.

I’m not against technology I welcome anything that will improve efficiency, except large pharmaceuticals! 

Prescriptions are free in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. In England they are free for those under eighteen, over sixty, pregnant women, including the following twelve months, Cancer patients and those on very low incomes.

GP (General Practitioner), is the name given to our family doctor, we would not refer to s/he as our family physician. 

(C) 2019 Word Prompt Drug Stores from Weekly Prompts


17 thoughts on “The Chemist Shop

    1. Hello Ray. Firstly, by using the term High Street I’m not referring to the shopping centres that you would call a Mall.
      Each community has a High Street, a street that features smaller independently owned, often family run establishment/shops. No one wants large corporations to come in and take them over but this is what is happening with some of our pharmacies.
      I don’t have a photograph of a local high street but I do have one of York that will have to suffice for now. Hope this clarifies.


  1. Murphy's Law

    Sue, you definitely don’t want Trump getting into any of your business!! We have two pharmacies here in town, plus a RiteAid which soon will be Walgreen.

    Recently we reluctantly switched to mail order for our maintenance prescriptions. Why? Because with our insurance company we have “0” co-pay using their mail order service. Believe me, that’s a savings we couldn’t afford to ignore.

    I anticipated all kinds of problems ….. lost orders, delayed orders, wrong medications, etc., but it happily has been running perfectly.

    But the cost of healthcare in this country is outrageous. You know, the medical community has figured out how to make us live longer, but no one considered how we would afford the mounting healthcare costs. Sigh…….


    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are very fortunate here to have our NHS, but just like in your country the NHS does struggle with the rising cost of keeping us healthy, and those of us of a certain age are being blamed for it. Personally speaking, I believe we have paid our dues over many years and have every right to reap the benefits at the time when we need it the most .

      I have heard of the extortionate health care costs in America. I believe one of the first things Trump did was to get rid of Obama Care, a system that would have helped many. This president appears to be all about making money instead of doing what is best for the country.
      I appreciate your input Ginger. Thank you so much. 🙂


  2. Well said Sue. I don’t normally join in with the mid week Prompts but thought I should at least comment on your post. We need to hang on to our pharmacies in the high streets – we also have a wonderful pharmacist called David who we can go to for minor ailment over the counter advice (for free). As for the NHS I feel that times are changing due to cost and time pressures. Working within the NHS for 27 years it’s a crying shame to see. Having said that we are still so lucky to receive care and treatment when we need it – especially when it’s an emergency. We do however need to figure out what to do about those people who turn up at A & E departments with trivial problems…it’s a huge problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry for the delay on this reply. This was another comment that turned up in the Spam folder! I didn’t realise you worked in the NHS Selina.

      I agree with you about A&E. The other night I watched ‘Ambulance’ on TV and was shocked at the amount of people who called upon this service, almost as though it was a taxi service to deliver them to A&E for trivialities.

      When I was a child my parents were still getting used to the relatively new, free National Health Service. They didn’t take it for granted and for many many years were very reluctant to bother the ‘busy doctor’. These days people make GP appointments simply because they have a heavy cold.

      Thank you for your comments Selina, they are appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ugh! Trump can keep his grubby little hands off the NHS! Yes, he’ll offer us huge trade deals & our NHS will be on top of the negotiation you say, “Over my dead body” too! I’m a bit worried about Boots threatening to close branches. The only chemist in Knighton, which is closest to us & a minute’s walk from our doctors, is a Boots. One would hope they won’t close it, but we thought that about the only bank that was left. It closed last September! 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope your branch of Boots stays open for all your sakes. No one wants to travel further to have a prescription made up when you’re not feeling very well. I can imagine Lloyds Pharmacy jumping in and opening a small branch, you’d think it would be a prescription gold mine in such close proximity to the doctor’s surgery.

      I hope we don’t give in and take up any of Trump’s trade deals, especially where food is concerned, we have such high standards here and I’m proud of that. Trump is pushing for us to drop our strict food standards in order to do trade deals with us and that is a scary thought.

      America’s food standards are extremely low compared to ours, with its use of insecticides, food additives and hormones, not to mention the allowance of a percentage of hidden rodent droppings, rat hair, maggots and mould. We don’t allow any.

      This is something we should not be giving in to, I am horrified at the thought of lowering the safety and hygiene of our food just so America can do the trade deals with us that they’ve always wanted. As the end consumers perhaps we should hold a referendum on that! Oh, dear, here I am going off on one again, sorry!


  4. This was really interesting to me. For many years my father-in-law was the senior pharmacist at the LGI. Many years ago, his wife used to work part-time as the pharmacist at the Oldest Chemists Shop In England in Knaresborough. Fascinating stuff Sue. BTW free prescriptions are for the over 60’s not 65

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My apologies Tony. I actually replied to you straight away but the comment doesn’t appear to be here!

      Thank you for the heads up on the free prescriptions. I knew it was sixty so no idea why I typed age sixty five!

      I think I know the chemist shop in Knaresborough on the market place?
      I still cannot get over how your inlaws live just down the road from me, such a small world! Thank you Tony and again I apologise. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I can recall back in 1948/49 my mother had a broken wrist, and I was sent one Sunday, up to Aldgate East as there was a Boots Chemist, shop that was open 24 a hours a day 7 days a week, the only one of it’s kind in England at that time.
    That was a pretty big deal for a 14 year old back then, but probably a damned sight safer than it would be nowadays

    Liked by 1 person

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