In a letter sent to Scottish community pharmacy contractors, the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Scotland Rose Marie Parr has announced that pharmacy teams in Scotland will be able to offer minor ailments (MAS) consultations to additional groups presenting at the pharmacy.
Community pharmacy teams will be able to offer MAS consultations to anyone presenting at the pharmacy, effective from Monday 23 March 2020.
This will provide pharmacy teams with the opportunity to do the following:
- Treat everyone in their communities in the same way.
- Develop a single pathway of care for everyone seeking advice for minor conditions.
- Manage workload and queues more effectively.
- Make supplies of medication whilst avoiding the risk of viral transmission that comes with handling payment.
- Make recorded supplies of POM packs of Paracetamol (subject to a PGD being made available).
- Record the outcome of OTC consultations where the circumstances have required a departure from the norm or where the ideal outcome has not been possible.
- Collect information which enables remote Responsible Pharmacist decisions to be made and recorded – only if this should become absolutely necessary, is carried out for the least amount of time possible and is supported by the regulator.
- Improve access to treatment for all by removing the barrier of cost in economically uncertain times.
Other primary care services are expected to continue to assess and treat patients.
Scottish Government has made it clear that this is an interim measure. The NHS Pharmacy First Scotland service will go live in pharmacies as planned on the 22nd of April, replacing this “Extended MAS.
Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Scotland Rose Marie Parr commented:
“Pharmacy teams are trusted to use their expertise and experience to decide how best to deliver this “extended MAS” in their communities, though the expectation is that the service should be used for anyone appropriately referred to pharmacy from NHS24 or other local triage services but can also be used by walk-in consultations.”
The news comes as Scottish Government has also accelerated plans to expand access to Emergency Care Summary (ECS) data, which mainly contains medication information, to pharmacists.
Health Boards have been asked to provide access to this information to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working in communities.
More than a thousand community pharmacies provide a range of NHS Pharmaceutical Care services on behalf of the NHS in Scotland.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:
“The vital work of community pharmacies up and down the country is key in ensuring that we continue to reduce the burden across the NHS, and patients continue to get the necessary medicines they need to stay healthy.
“Many people visit a community pharmacy every day, with these numbers increasing in the current COVID-19 outbreak.
“This makes them the most accessible healthcare professionals on the front line of community health services, and a valuable resource to NHS Scotland.
“Strengthening the role of pharmacists, and easing some of the pressure from frontline NHS services, is, therefore, an important step in our wide-ranging response to the current crisis.”
Further comprehensive details including remuneration are outlined in the circular below.