Scottish medicines collection service for shielding patients


Scottish Government recently announced support to self-isolate to those at a very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. This includes providing help to access medicines and food supplies.


Scottish Government policy has been discussing with Community Pharmacy Scotland how a collection service may operate. Key principles are that the service is to cover patients in the shielded group only.


This group of people are considered to be at extremely high risk of severe illness with COVID-19 and should strictly follow shielding measures. Their household and other contacts should strictly follow social distancing measures in order to protect them.


We have outlined the nature of this group below:


  • Have had solid organ transplants.
  • Have cancer and are receiving active chemotherapy.
  • Have lung cancer and are either receiving or previously received radical radiotherapy.
  • Have cancers of the blood or bone marrow, such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment.
  • Are receiving immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer.
  • Are receiving other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors.
  • Have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.
  • Have severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma and severe COPD.
  • Have rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections such as SCID and homozygous sickle cell.
  • Are receiving immunosuppression therapies that significantly increase risk of infection.
  • Are pregnant with significant heart disease (congenital or acquired).


Scottish Government continue to encourage the use of existing social networks (i.e. family, friends and neighbours) to reduce demand to those who really need it. Also, the system is based on patient consent agreeing to be part of the collection service.


A standard operating procedure has been produced and shared with Local Resilience Partnerships. It is expected that local areas will amend this as required to suit local arrangements, however the key principles should remain.


The key principles of the medicine collection service are as follows:


  • The service is to cover patients in the shielded group only.
  • The system is based on patient consent agreeing to be part of the collection service.
  • Once the prescription is collected, the responsibility for handling the prescription from that point onwards to the patient rests with the local authority or health and social care partnership.
  • The LRP will need to identify from patients opting into the service the pharmacy from which they usually collect their prescriptions.
  • It should be noted that pharmacy processing times are longer than usual and this will require to be incorporated into the LRP operating protocols.


Scottish Government has said that drivers will need to be Disclosure Scotland checked.


You can read the full circular below.


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This circular is being shared under the Open Government Copyright licence. Whilst we will publish alerts relevant to pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy teams we recommend you also keep an eye on the SHOW website.



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A pharmacist led training provider.

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