I recently wrote an article about the Scottish NHS Pharmacy First service but I wanted to find out more so I got in touch with Director of Operations at Community Pharmacy Scotland, Matt Barclay.
He was good enough to take time out from the ambitious schedule of NHS Pharmacy First engagement evenings across Scotland to have a chat about what the new service might mean for community pharmacists in Scotland.
Before this chat, I had lots of questions, to be honest. Matt didn’t disappoint. He shared details on how the service would be rolled out and most interestingly what his long term vision for the service would be. We discussed how CPS feel that this service will create a true ‘unique selling point’ for community pharmacy in Scotland
We discussed how the service will actually work and most importantly how the data about the service will be gathered. I asked him what pharmacists might do with this data. I found this very interesting. The age-old question about allowing community pharmacists to get read/write access to the patient medical record came up during our chat. Matt described details about early conversations that CPS are having with the digital health institute to help position community pharmacy in the best possible place to secure a digital future for the sector.
The workforce issues in community pharmacy across the whole of the UK, not just Scotland, are well known. Matt painted a picture of the challenges but also the opportunities might be. A key theme coming through is that this NHS Pharmacy First service will hopefully provide new depth to the role and also may provide a career pathway for community pharmacists that is interesting and varied.
We talked about the concept of a community pharmacy training practice. I also delved into the governance frameworks that may have to be established to facilitate this new world of pharmacists working in the heart of the community as independent prescribers.
Finally, we chatted about the prospect of community pharmacists in Scotland being independent prescribers. I asked Matt if he felt that it was time to declare that every community pharmacy in Scotland should have an independent prescriber working there. His answer was fascinating.
We look forward to seeing how the service develops over the coming months and years.
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