PHARMACISTS in Scotland are to be given an expanded role in delivering healthcare services directly to patients.
In an action plan called Prescription for Excellence the Scottish Government outlines how pharmacists will work more closely with GPs and hospital teams, as well as other health and social care professionals.
The plan calls for pharmacists to work in partnership with GPs on the management of long-term conditions and also to offer a greater supporting role in providing treatment for patients in the community, such as chemotherapy at home under the care of consultants. Pharmacists will also now provide direct care to patients in care homes.
The introduction of more innovative technologies such as telehealthcare and the use of robots in dispensing medicines will allow pharmacists more time to spend on direct patient care with the aim of improving the quality and safety of care and helping to reduce wasted medicines.
The plan also acknowledges the important role that dispensing doctors play in supplying medicines to rural communities and will be complemented by a review of the legislation that supports pharmacy services and the dispensing of medicines by GP practices.
Professor John Cromarty, Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Scottish Pharmacy Board said: "This action plan lays out the future for the pharmaceutical care of patients in the community in Scotland.
"It presents an ambitious but realistic programme of work and provides both the NHS and the profession with an excellent opportunity to make sure that pharmacists’ clinical knowledge and skills are fully utilised in helping to deliver safe, effective and patient-centred care."
Dr John Gillies, Chair the Royal College of General Practitioners (Scotland) said: "GP’s in Scotland provide high levels of quality and patient satisfaction. However more older people and more complex treatment regimes mean that primary care is increasingly complex and pressurised.
"RCGP Scotland recognises the need to develop pharmaceutical care in the community to respond to these challenges. We look forward to working collaboratively with pharmacy colleagues on this ambitious action plan using our complementary skills to make care better and safer for our patients."