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gp complaintsMarch 30 2016

A primary care pilot scheme in Lanarkshire is promoting the greater use of multi-disciplinary working in GP practices.

The scheme will also specifically look at pharmacy aspects at a site in Coatbridge. Funding to test new models of out of hours care is also looking at the role pharmacists can play along with other health professionals in dealing with urgent and out of hours care needs.

The £4.5 million pilot joins five other primary care test sites already up and running in Inverclyde, Govan, Edinburgh, Tayside and Grampian. In the newly announced pilot, test sites in East Kilbride and Coatbridge will bring together a range of health professionals in GP surgeries - such as practice nurses, district nurses, mental health professionals, pharmacists, allied health professionals like physiotherapists, as well as third sector workers - to help manage patient care.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “GPs play a central role in supporting people to live well within our communities – by developing multidisciplinary teams we will help our GPs focus on the patients who would benefit from their assessment and ensure everyone sees a skilled professional as quickly as possible.”

The Scottish Government has confirmed that it will provide £6.6 million from the Primary Care Fund to NHS Boards for 2016-17, to fund pharmacists to work with GPs in GP practices. This is the first full year of funding for the scheme having originally been announced in June 2015. An NHS circular setting out the funding allocations for all 14 of Scotland’s NHS Board areas was published last week.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland has welcomed the package of announcements made last week. RPSiS Director for Scotland, Alex MacKinnon, said: “When the announcement of the three years of funding was made last year we warmly welcomed its inclusive approach ensuring that the skills set across all sectors would be utilised in improving patient care working with GP practices. I am pleased to see the funding now allocated for the second year and look forward to hearing more about the impact of this important service.”

Aileen Bryson, RPSiS Head of Policy & Practice, added: “The funding for specific pilots that include pharmacists is very encouraging. We have been lobbying for pharmacists to be included in the multidisciplinary team since our response to the Wilson and Barber Review in 2012 and we recommended this again in our briefing to MSPs ahead of their debate last year on ‘Redesigning primary care for Scotland’.

“The specific pharmacy-focused test in Coatbridge is a welcome initiative as we believe this will help enable decision makers to fully consider how we make better use of the expertise and accessibility available in Scotland’s community pharmacy network. Community pharmacies across Scotland remain one of the most accessible NHS services for the public and patients and fully including them in our transformed primary care teams will benefit patients but also relieve pressures on GPs, out of hours services and A&E departments.”

Dr John McAnaw, Chair of the Scottish Pharmacy Board, hoped that the recommendations in the Society’s joint response with Community Pharmacy Scotland and the Directors of Pharmacy Scotland group will be fully included in the National Delivery Plan.

“The testing of new ways of working and trialling specific models of care that include pharmacists, will hopefully enable pharmacists to be more fully integrated into the multidisciplinary team that delivers out of hours care to the people of Scotland,” he said.

“It marks the beginning of how we implement the recommendations from the Ritchie report, and will ultimately ensure that more people can access and benefit from the knowledge and skills of those pharmacists who work in our communities across the OOH period, regardless of where and when they present.”

Links:

Scottish Government NHS Lanarkshire announcement

Scottish Government OOH announcement

RPSiS comment - Alison Bryson

RPSiS comment - Alex MacKinnon

NHS Circular PCA (P) (2016) 2 (via RPS site)

RPS comment - John McAnaw

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