Scotland looks to extend minor ailments service
June 1 2016
The Scottish Government has announced it will look at proposals to build on the minor ailments service offered through community pharmacies.
In an address setting out the priorities of the new Scottish Government, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Government will take forward its work to transform primary care, “delivering a Community Health Service, with a new GP contract, increased numbers of GPs and nurses working in the community and new, multi-disciplinary hubs.
“We will also explore other initiatives to relieve the pressure on family doctors. All GP practices will have access to an enhanced pharmacist and we will examine a proposal in the Labour manifesto to extend the Minor Ailments Service to make it a universal service available in all pharmacies.”
She also said that the government will support integrated health and social care partnerships with an additional £1.3 billion of investment over the next five years. She described the integration of health and social care, which commenced last month, as “the most radical reform in healthcare in Scotland since the foundation of the NHS.” The expanded community and social care services support will help “people to live independently for as long as possible.”
Responding to the announcement, Community Pharmacy Scotland said it was “delighted” that the Scottish Government will consider making the Minor Ailment Service a universal service. “Community Pharmacy Scotland is delighted that our lobbying activity of all the parties ahead of the Holyrood Election has resulted in today’s announcement. This request was a central theme of the Pharmacy First element of our pre-election manifesto and has widespread political party support,” it said.
CPS Chief Executive Harry McQuillan added: “We very much look forward to working with Scottish Government officials to make this expansion a reality for the people our members serve.”
At the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Alex MacKinnon, Director for Scotland, also welcomed the Scottish Government’s willingness to considering an extension of the Minor Ailment Service. The Society’s manifesto ‘Right Medicine, Better Health, Fitter Future’ had urged the political parties to implement its joint recommendations made with CPS and the Directors of Pharmacy Group on the future contribution of community pharmacy. These were proposed in ‘Pulling together: Transforming urgent care for the people of Scotland.
“These recommendations specifically suggested re-modelling the Minor Ailment Service, including making greater use of the enhanced clinical skills of pharmacist independent prescribers, and raising public awareness with a view to making pharmacy the first port of call for everyone for common clinical conditions,” said Mr MacKinnon.
“An extension of the Minor Ailment Service would be good for the public and patients, and would also ease pressures on the NHS both in daytime and out-of-hours services. I am therefore encouraged to see that the Scottish Government is willing to consider such an extension.”