The Scottish Government has published a nine-point plan that promises to “transform” both pharmacy and primary care in Scotland.
‘Achieving excellence in pharmaceutical care: a strategy for Scotland’, published 21 August 2017, vows to genuinely integrate pharmacy into the NHS and transform the role of pharmacy across all areas of the NHS in Scotland.
The strategy builds on the government’s ‘Prescription for excellence’ document published in 2013, and Scottish chief pharmaceutical officer Rose Marie Parr said the proposals would achieve “world class pharmaceutical care”.
“The commitments and actions in this strategy will help the public and professions alike realise the true value that pharmacy can bring to our communities and daily lives,” she said.
Among the commitments included in the plan is a promise to increase access to community pharmacy as the first port of call for managing self-limiting illnesses and long-term conditions, both in and out of hours.
More community pharmacists will be funded to undertake independent prescribing and advanced clinical skills training, and the existing minor ailment service in Scotland could be expanded to include more patients with a wider range of conditions.
The chronic medication service will also be extended, with a more formalised role for community pharmacists in managing people with long-term conditions.
The government has also promised to deliver on its commitment to ensure every GP practice in Scotland has access to a pharmacist with advanced clinical skills by 2021, and it will aim to ensure that high quality clinical pharmacy services are available in all Scottish hospitals seven days a week.
A consultant pharmacist role is to be included in a new postgraduate career framework for pharmacy in Scotland; there will be more efficient workforce planning; and the training and development of pharmacy technicians will be enhanced.
Other government commitments include plans to ensure better pharmaceutical care for care homes and for those who need care at home; greater use of technology to help pharmacists treat people in rural and remote areas; more technological support to hospital and primary care prescribers; and development of a new contracting framework for community pharmacy NHS services.
Parr said that although the strategy pointed to an exciting future for pharmacy, it would also present new challenges and demands for the profession.
“Therefore, I will also ensure that there is a continued focus going forward on supporting the professional pharmacy practitioner, recognising the often difficult judgments and personal commitments required,” she added.
“This can be achieved in part through education, developing clinical capability and competence, and enabling leadership development and professionalism.”
RPS director for Scotland, Alex MacKinnon, said he was delighted to see that many members’ priorities, as identified in the RPS in Scotland Manifesto 2016, had been included in the strategy.
Source: Royal Pharmaceutical Society
“In addition, our long-term conditions policy called for pharmacists to have a much greater role in the managing and monitoring of people with long-term conditions,” he said.
“I am pleased to see this aspiration reflected in the strategy for all sectors of the profession.”
MacKinnon added that some proposals, such as seven-day working in hospital pharmacies, may require extra funding to be implemented successfully.
Chair of Community Pharmacy Scotland, Martin Green, said: “[I am] delighted to see that our core clinical services and skills will be developed and promoted over the next five years.”