Expanded role for pharmacists to ease burden on GPs in Scotland

THE Scottish Government has published plans to ease the burden in both primary and hospital care delivery by further enhancing the role of pharmacists through independent prescribing and advanced clinical skills.

Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical Care sets out priorities for a new national framework in Scotland.

Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "This strategy is a vital part of our efforts to transform primary care, enabling more people to be treated at home or in the community and easing pressure on other services.

"It sets out our priorities for improvements over the next five years – helping to deliver our commitment that every GP practice will have access to a pharmacist with advanced clinical skills by 2021."

Among other commitments set out is a planned expansion in the number of community pharmacists undertaking independent prescribing and advanced clinical skills training. It will widen a national minor ailments scheme (MAS) to cover more conditions such as impetigo, uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women and shingles, following a pilot scheme in Inverclyde during 2017.

A chronic medication service will be further developed to incorporate a more formalised role for community pharmacists in managing people with long-term conditions, building in medication review, prescribing, monitoring and dose titration.

The strategy also includes plans to transform the delivery of hospital pharmaceutical services and care during weekdays and at weekends, and improve all pharmacy-related aspects of the hospital discharge process utilising integrated models of care.

The Scottish Government’s Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Dr Rose Marie Parr, said: "Pharmacy teams in both hospital and the community already play an important role in the provision of NHS services.

"In the community, we are making good progress in promoting local pharmacies as the first port of call for our most common healthcare needs and I want to encourage more people to see them as their initial point of care. Coupled with the commitment to transform hospital pharmacy services, I believe this strategy will support our ambition to deliver world class pharmaceutical care.”

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