top of page

Contraceptive Pill Service

Thousands of women across England can get the contraceptive pill at their local pharmacy without needing to contact their GP first.


At Greywell pharmacy we can offer the contraceptive pill for free. You do not need to see a doctor or nurse for a prescription.

A pharmacist may be able to supply the contraceptive pill if you need to:

  • Start using the contraceptive pill for the first time

  • Start the contraceptive pill again after a break from taking it

  • get a supply of the contraceptive pill if it’s already been prescribed to you

If the pharmacist gives you the contraceptive pill they will share this information with your GPif you give permission for them to do so

Get safe, effective contraceptive pills service

How does the service work?

Anyone needing the pill can access it through participating pharmacies without a referral from their GP, though they can be referred by their general practice or sexual health clinic. 

The pharmacist will offer a confidential consultation and reach a shared decision with the person about their first supply of the pill, or the ongoing supply of their current oral contraception. The supply of oral contraception will be free. 


What checks will I need?  

For a combined oral hormonal contraception, a BMI and blood pressure measurement will need to be taken. These can be taken as part of the consultation within the pharmacy. 

A person accessing the service may also offer their own weight, height and blood pressure measurements. Any self-reported measurements will need to be recorded as such. 

What is the pill?

The combined oral contraceptive pill is often just called "the pill". It contains artificial versions of female hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which are produced naturally in the ovaries.

If sperm reaches an egg (ovum), pregnancy can happen. Contraception tries to stop this happening usually by keeping the egg and sperm apart or by stopping the release of an egg (ovulation).

How do i take it?

There are many different brands of pill, made up of 3 main types: 

  • Monophasic 21-day pills

  • Phasic 21-day pills

  • Every day (ED) pills

How to take 21-day pills - standard regime

  • Take your 1st pill from the packet marked with the correct day of the week, or the 1st pill of the 1st colour (phasic pills).

  • Continue to take a pill at the same time each day until the pack is finished.

  • Stop taking pills for 7 days (during these 7 days you will get a bleed).

  • Start your next pack of pills on the 8th day, whether you are still bleeding or not. This should be the same day of the week as when you took your 1st pill.


How to take every day pills

  • Take the 1st pill from the section of the packet marked "start". This will be an active pill.

  • Continue to take a pill every day, in the correct order and preferably at the same time each day, until the pack is finished (28 days).

  • During the 7 days of taking the inactive pills, you will get a bleed.

  • Start your next pack of pills after you have finished the 1st pack, whether you are still bleeding or not.

  • When taken correctly, the pill is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. This means that fewer than 1 in 100 who use the combined pill as contraception will get pregnant in 1 year.

  • The standard way to take the pill is to take 1 every day for 21 days, then have a break for 7 days, and during this week you have a bleed like a period. You start taking the pill again after 7 days.

  • You may be able to take some types of pill with no or shorter breaks (a tailored regime), which may reduce some side effects. Speak to a doctor or nurse about your options.

  • You need to take the pill at around the same time every day. You could get pregnant if you do not do this, or if you miss a pill, or vomit or have severe diarrhoea.

How it prevents pregnancy

The pill prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation). It also:

  • Thickens the mucus in the neck of the womb, so it is harder for sperm to penetrate the womb and reach an egg

  • Thins the lining of the womb, so there is less chance of a fertilised egg implanting into the womb and being able to grow

What else to know?

  • If you have heavy periods or painful periods, PMS (premenstrual syndrome) or endometriosis the combined pill may help.

  • Minor side effects include mood swings, nausea, breast tenderness and headaches – these usually settle down in a few months.

  • There is no evidence that the pill will make you gain weight.

  • There's a very low risk of serious side effects, such as blood clots and cervical cancer.

  • The combined pill is not suitable if you are over 35 and smoke, or if you have certain medical conditions.

  • The pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so use a condom as well.

  • There may be a link between the pill and depression but evidence is mixed and further research is needed.

Click here to find out more about contraceptive guide

bottom of page