Scottish community pharmacy and optometry collaboration


As part of the planned developments to NHS Pharmacy First Service and the remobilisation of NHS primary care services, a nationally agreed two-way pathway between community pharmacies and optometrists, which helps support the Scottish Government’s “Integration of Eyecare Services” programme has been announced.


The broad aim of the collaboration is to allow patients to make best use of the services available from each professional group.


This type of pathway has been in place in several Health Boards for many years, with all involved giving positive feedback on how it operates. The Scottish Government is fully supportive of this development as it encourages the fostering of local partnerships between primary care providers which will benefit the people of Scotland.


In a letter to stakeholders Alison Strath Interim Chief Pharmaceutical Officer and Dr Janet Pooley PhD MCOptom Optometric Advisor at the Dentistry and Optometry Division commented:


“This Circular provides information for community optometry teams about the NHS Pharmacy First Scotland (NHS PFS) service. It also provides guidance aimed at both community optometry and community pharmacy teams and a referral form for the assessment and treatment of minor eye


“The NHS PFS service came into force in community pharmacies on 29 July 2020 and replaced the Minor Ailment Service (MAS).


“The NHS PFS service seeks to encourage people to go to their local pharmacy for support with minor and acute health conditions. It extends access to a wider group of people than those who were able to use the Individuals who are registered with a GP practice in Scotland, or who live in Scotland, are eligible to use NHS PFS subject to certain exceptions for visitors to Scotland.


“Pharmacies undertake an NHS PFS consultation and provide advice, treatment or referral to another healthcare professional if appropriate.


“As well as minor conditions, it continues to provide advice and treatment for two specific common clinical conditions, uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infections in women and impetigo. Further common clinical conditions will be identified and added in due course.


“Guidance for community optometry and community pharmacy teams relating to the assessment and treatment of eye conditions under NHS PFS is attached.


“A two-way Optometry-Pharmacy Referral Form has been designed for community optometrists to refer patients to their local pharmacy for NHS PFS, and for community pharmacy teams to refer patients to community optometry practices where a patient has initially presented at a pharmacy but specialist advice is required.


“Ongoing discussions between community optometry teams and their local pharmacies is strongly encouraged to develop ways of working which take local needs into account, whilst ensuring a safe and efficient patient journey.”


You can read the full circular below.


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




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