LloydsPharmacy has been awarded a £17m contract to run pharmacy services in all of Scotland’s 15 prisons.
The contract runs until April 2022, with an option to extend for a further year. It is the first time a private firm has controlled the pharmacy service to prisons in Scotland.
A spokesperson for NHS National Services Scotland confirmed to The Pharmaceutical Journal on 2 May 2019 that LloydsPharmacy was the sole tender for the contract, although there had been a number of suppliers who expressed an interest when the contract details were first announced in February 2019.
LloydsPharmacy will be expected to deliver a full professional pharmacy service — including supplies and dispensing, with a particular focus on the treatment of prisoners with hepatitis C — the spokesperson said.
The NHS took over responsibility for prisoner health in Scotland in 2011 when the service was transferred from the prison service. But, in May 2017, an inquiry into healthcare in prisons by the Scottish government’s health and sport committee found that expected improvements to prisoner healthcare from the move had not materialised. The report concluded that the health needs of the prisoner population were “underserved”.
In evidence to the committee that produced the report, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society highlighted the “considerable pressures” on the prison prescribing system.
The Society told members of Scottish parliament at the time that some medicines were “high-value currency items leading to inappropriate requests for specific prescriptions for which there is no clinical requirement”.
LloydsPharmacy refused to comment on its contract award; it directed enquiries to the Scottish Prison Service.