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Pharmacy First: acute sinusitis

This series is written for pharmacy teams and aims to prepare the whole team for their involvement in the Pharmacy First service. It focuses on understanding the service, how to refer and how to manage those not eligible for referral, with OTC recommendations and advice.


With patients now able to access treatment for acute sinusitis via Pharmacy First, teams can advise patients about the service, as well as helping those who don’t qualify to manage their symptoms with self care and OTC advice.

This is the second of our Pharmacy First Service series, looking at the sinusitis pathway and helping pharmacy teams navigate effective customer conversations, consultations and referrals surrounding sinusitis.

Since pharmacy team members are often the first healthcare professionals that patients will see when they are struggling with sinus pain, it pays to be aware of the causes and symptoms of sinusitis.

The seven common conditions in Pharmacy First

  • Sinusitis
  • Sore throat 
  • Acute otitis media 
  • Infected insect bite
  • Impetigo 
  • Shingles
  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women.

NHS England ( has created a guide to Pharmacy First Clinical Pathways that may be useful for team members to explain the consultation process to patients. The clinical pathways were carefully developed with input from a group of multi professional experts, including practising clinicians, antimicrobial resistance specialists, and representatives from national organisations. They have been approved by the national medical director at NHS England and the chief medical officer for England.

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