Scottish pharmacy praised as NHS Pharmacy First launch arrives


At the Scottish Government daily briefing, Nicola Sturgeon praised the Scottish pharmacy and looked forward to the launch of the NHS Pharmacy First service.


The service, which had gained much interest and enthusiasm before the lockdown was postponed after an original launch date of April this year.


NHS Pharmacy First Scotland will allow community pharmacies to give people expert help for treating conditions such as sore throats, earache and cold sores, along with common clinical conditions such as Urinary Tract Infections. Pharmacy teams will offer advice, treatment or referral to other healthcare teams if required.


Everyone who is registered with a GP practice in Scotland, or who lives in Scotland, is encouraged to use their local pharmacy when they have a minor illness or common condition. Accident and Emergency Departments remain open for emergency care, with public health measures in place to protect staff and patients.


In a recent interview with PIP Professor Harry McQuillan described more about this advice, treatment or referral approach. Crediting researcher Lee Boag in that interview he branded this approach as the ‘ART’ of pharmacy.


Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:


“During the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, people followed public health guidance closely and used their local pharmacy for medical advice and help.


“The launch of NHS Pharmacy First Scotland will make sure that people across Scotland can continue to do this. It gives access to the right care in the right place, getting medical support that is closer to home and often with no waiting time or appointments needed.


“While the NHS is there for all of us, we don’t all need to go to accident and emergency. For many of us, it is not the right place for the care we need. NHS Pharmacy First Scotland provides a local service, giving local access to healthcare help for many illnesses.


“In an emergency you should always call 999 or go to your nearest accident and emergency department. By continuing to do what we have been doing throughout this pandemic and accessing the right care in the right place, we continue to help our emergency teams and ensure accident and emergency provides the fastest and often lifesaving care for people when they really need it.”


Chair of Community Pharmacy Scotland Martin Green said:


“NHS Pharmacy First Scotland is an exciting service development for everyone. It recognises the role that the community pharmacy network can play in helping patients and the wider NHS team by ensuring people get the right care in the right place. Pharmacists, supported by their pharmacy teams, will be able to offer consultations for anyone with minor illnesses and provide the appropriate advice and support.


“We look forward to community pharmacy demonstrating its value with the Scottish public through this service and developing it further in years to come in line with the needs of the public and the NHS.”


Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Scottish Pharmacy Board, Jonathan Burton MBE commented:


“At RPS we are delighted by this latest development which will further enable community pharmacists and their teams to deliver truly world-leading levels of pharmaceutical care to the Scottish public.


“This is a very big step on a continuing journey which will ultimately cement the role of the community pharmacy network as the natural first point of contact with the NHS in Scotland for people with common symptoms that need assessing. When you put this in the context of the critical medicines supply function and also the public health services currently offered through pharmacies such as smoking cessation, EHC and an increasing role in vaccination, it’s easy to see why local community pharmacies are so very vital to the health of the nation.


“At RPS we recognise that offering such services is both professionally rewarding and also challenging. We’re able to offer RPS members access to professional practice advice on remote video and phone consultations, reclassified POM to P medicines which appear on the new Pharmacy First allowed list and an extensive e-library & e-books collection including titles focused on symptom assessment.


“All community pharmacists in Scotland also have electronic access our Medicines Complete package (including the BNF and Stockley’s interactions & ADR checkers) to help them with decision making and advice in their increasingly complex practice environment.”


Postgraduate Pharmacy Dean at NHS Education for Scotland (NES) Anne Watson said:


“NES are delighted to be underpinning this important service development by providing educational support for the community pharmacy teams – using online resources, national webinars and facilitating peer discussion forums with experts within the Boards.


“In addition, we have provided a quick reference guide sent to all community pharmacies and education and training to support common clinical conditions will continue to be a focus as the service expands.”


To read more about the NHS Pharmacy First service in Scotland click here. We also recently had a great chat with CPS Director of Operations Matt Barclay on the podcast. You can access that podcast here.


This circular is being shared under the Open Government Copyright licence.



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