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More inWhite Papers  

a coverAugust 22 2017

Scotland has a new pharmacy strategy, ‘Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical Care’, describing how pharmaceutical care will continue to evolve in Scotland. It sets out how “the crucial contribution of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, working together with other health and social care practitioners” will be used to “improve the health of the population and impact on health outcomes, especially for those with multiple long term and complex conditions.”

 The new strategy builds on earlier strategies, including ‘Prescription for Excellence’ in 2013, and sets out two main priorities:

  • ‘Improving NHS Pharmaceutical Care’ will work towards improving NHS pharmaceutical care services across Scotland, and drive up safer use of medicines;
  • ‘Enabling NHS Pharmaceutical Care Transformation’ will develop the pharmacy workforce to ensure capability and capacity, develop a digitally-enabled infrastructure, and address planning and delivery requirements for sustainable NHS pharmaceutical care services.

Core aims for community pharmacy include encouraging more people to use their community pharmacy as a first port of call. “Central to this is to ensure that services such as the Minor Ailment Service (MAS), the Chronic Medication Service (CMS) and Public Health Service (PHS), core elements of the NHS services provided in community pharmacies, are being delivered to their full potential,” says the document.

“It is through making full use of the clinical capacity in community pharmacy that real gains in clinical care can be made. It is also where the community pharmacist’s contribution to multidisciplinary team working takes its place to open up access to primary care for everyone and reduce workload at GP practices and other local healthcare services.”

The strategy also looks specifically at ambitions around GP practice-based pharmacy (“every GP practice will have access to a pharmacist with advanced clinical skills by 2021”), hospital pharmacy, safer use of medicines, care homes and ‘care at home’, and remote and rural communities.

Launching the strategy, Scotland’s Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Rose Marie Parr, said: “The pharmacy team in NHS Scotland is an important part of the workforce with specialist skills and much needed expertise in medicines. We need to work together with the wider multidisciplinary health and social care team, to ensure that this specialist knowledge in medicines is utilised to best effect for the health and well-being of the people of Scotland.”

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society was “pleased to see that the strategy focusses on an integrated approach to pharmacy practice across primary and secondary care.” It was also encouraged “to see the commitment to build an evidence base for future service development and delivery.”

Among proposals in the strategy, the Society picked out a number which had been recommended in the ‘RPS in Scotland Manifesto 2016’. These were based on members’ feedback and included:

  • recognition that pharmacists’ expertise across the NHS is required to ensure the safer use of medicines;
  • potential expansion of the minor ailment service to the whole population;
  • the importance of pharmacy technicians in freeing up pharmacist time for clinical care;
  • electronic prescribing for pharmacist prescribers;
  • access to health records;
  • improved health literacy;
  • workforce planning.

Alex MacKinnon, RPS Director for Scotland, added that the Society’s Long Term Conditions policy called for pharmacists to have a much greater role in the managing and monitoring of people with LTCs. “I am pleased to see this aspiration reflected in the strategy for all sectors of the profession,” he said.

The Scottish Pharmacy Board of the RPS will consider the new strategy in detail, including how the RPS in Scotland can support its members. The Board’s full response will be published in due course.

Community Pharmacy Scotland welcomed the announcement saying: “Services provided in Scotland’s 1,256 pharmacies are essential to promoting and maintaining the health and wellbeing of the communities they serve.

“It is reassuring to see this reflected in community pharmacy’s place front-and centre of this new strategy. It is only through national strategies and actions that barriers to unlocking the full potential of the Scottish community pharmacy contract can be overcome to meet and exceed the shared ambitions of our members, the Scottish Government and the NHS.”

Links:
Scottish Government announcement      
‘Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical Care strategy’ strategy   
RPS comment   
RPS in Scotland Manifesto 2016                                   
CPS comment    

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