The Scottish government is to create a community pharmacy minor ailments scheme (MAS) that is available to everyone across Scotland.
The announcement follows a pilot scheme operating in a part of Glasgow that will be rolled out nationwide and become available to everyone, irrespective of age and social circumstance. However, the government is yet to decide on the details of how exactly the MAS will run.
At the same time, the Scottish government announced an overhaul of the chronic medication service, which it said would be “strengthened and refreshed”.
It promised to announce how the service would be “enhanced” by incorporating medication review and pharmacist prescribing, and monitoring of patient medicines, in the next few months.
A national MAS was introduced in Scotland in 2006, but only children, people aged over 60 years, people with a medical exemption certificate, and people on certain benefits can use it. It is expected that a new national service would also cover a wider range of conditions than the current MAS.
Aileen Bryson, the deputy director at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Scotland, said a review and extension of the MAS to be available for everyone was included in its most recent manifesto, published before the Scottish government elections in 2016.
“We will want to see the details of course, but we are very pleased to see government commitment and would like this to continue to recognise the expertise available to improve patient outcomes in the community pharmacy sector,” she said.
“It’s about making sure that the patient sees the right health professional at the right time, and we need to have good referral systems across the primary care team to ensure patient safety and continuity of care.”
Martin Green, the chair at Community Pharmacy Scotland, said his organisation would work with the government to shape the evolution of the MAS over the coming year.
“We will be building upon our substantial efforts to demonstrate the value that community pharmacy teams add to Scotland’s health record, and we intend to firmly cement the idea of the community pharmacy team as an essential part of the wider NHS and as trusted clinicians in people’s minds,” he said.