GP leaders in Scotland will announce on 18 January 2018 whether the profession will accept the new GP national contract, which includes the introduction of a pharmacotherapy service in every surgery.
The British Medical Association’s Scottish GP committee will then meet to discuss the results of a poll of GPs and trainees, which closed on 4 January 2018. The poll sought views on the proposed contract which has been agreed by the committee and the Scottish government.
GP leaders believe the contract — which potentially also creates an opportunity for pharmacists to help deliver the national vaccination programme — addresses GP workforce and recruitment pressures and would create a sustainable service in the long run.
Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) — the body that represents community pharmacists in Scotland — agreed that the proposed contract could be good news for the profession.
Its director of operations, Matt Barclay, said: “I think that the Scottish government is really trying to develop the primary care team and community pharmacy has a part to play in that.
“There is a lot of talk about [the development of] practice pharmacists, but I think there is a lot of work for them to do and a lot of what they do could be met by community pharmacists.
“There is a pharmacy workforce out there which can pick up some of this work but I am not sure where all of those pharmacists will come from to fill all of those [practice] posts. Maybe there has to be some different thinking about how community pharmacy can best develop this policy.”
Under the proposed GP contract, a new pharmacotherapy service would be developed over three years from April 2018 and involve pharmacist and pharmacy technician support to the patients of every GP practice in Scotland.
Additionally it is proposed that responsibility for delivering the national vaccination programme would be taken away from GPs and transferred to health boards which would be expected to create multidisciplinary teams to provide the service instead.