£1 million investment in Scottish community pharmacy prescribing clinics

Community pharmacy contractors in Scotland can once again avail of funding to run community pharmacy independent prescribing clinics.


The total value of money allocated for the financial year 2019/20 remains unchanged from last year at £1 million. The level of payment for a clinic session will remain unchanged at £150. Community pharmacy contractors may claim a one-off payment of £750 for new clinics starting up.


The announcement comes following the review of the funding model. Allocation of the funding is to be controlled by the Directors of Pharmacy at a local Health Board level. The funds available to each Health Board are outlined below.


Community Pharmacist Supplementary and Independent Prescribing Clinics 2019/20 Share – £1million

Ayrshire and Arran




Dumfries and Galloway




Forth Valley




Greater Glasgow and Clyde














Western Isles



Matt Barclay Director of Operations at Community Pharmacy Scotland commented;


“We welcome this funding intended for IP clinics based in community pharmacies where access and expertise is readily available. We also have the first of two cohorts of community pharmacy focussed independent prescribing intakes going through our university courses with funding, this is also to be welcomed.


“We are looking to engage with Scottish Government to ensure that sustainable services can be developed for all independent prescribing in community pharmacy and to this end, we will look at developing a robust framework to support this.


“This should look at how this can be best achieved through Health Board support, infrastructure and funding so that the policy objective of enhancing IP use through community pharmacy can be achieved. The current IP intakes focus is on developing skills to deliver IP common clinical conditions services and this aligns with the policy. It is important for SG, the pharmacy network, the wider primary care team and ultimately patients that we help find a sustainable solution for everyone.”


Jonathan Burton a community pharmacist independent prescriber who runs clinics in his community pharmacy in Stirling said:


“I welcome this continuation of independent pharmacist prescribing clinic funding for community pharmacists in Scotland, which supports vital, accessible local services and encourages innovation in community pharmacy practice. It is worth noting that there are an increasing number of community pharmacists going through the independent prescribing qualification and additional NES clinical skills training with a view to running walk-in clinics from their pharmacies for common clinical conditions, very much an expanded Minor Ailments or ‘Pharmacy First’ service model, and we are fortunate in Scotland to have specific funding arrangements to support this pipeline of new community-based independent prescribing pharmacists.


“However, with such walk-in clinic models becoming more commonplace and more ‘active prescribers’ working in the community sector it is vital that IP clinic funding keeps pace, whether that is via an increase in the currently allocated £1 million, or indeed a more comprehensive overhaul of our current core contractual funding model to reflect the additional workload and complexity involved in operating IP clinics in an accessible, effective, safe and sustainable way.


“We also need to be mindful of the ongoing training and support needs of community pharmacists offering an increasingly wide range of walk-in clinic and public health services, and ensure that resources are in place to support their peer review and continuing education/CPD activities.”


You can read the full Scottish Government circular here.


Three further batches losartan recalled from pharmacies


The MHRA has recalled three batches of Losartan tablets due to contamination with the nitrosamine N-nitroso-N-methylamino butyric acid.


As a precautionary measure to protect public health, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) today recalled three batches of Losartan tablets due to contamination with the nitrosamine N-nitroso-N-methylamino butyric acid (NMBA). The affected batches can be viewed here.


The recall is taking place as part of the continued investigation into potential nitrosamine contamination of sartan containing medicines, a class of medicine to treat blood pressure and heart attacks and heart failures.


Currently, there is no evidence that nitrosamine impurities can cause harm and patients are being advised to continue taking their medication.


The investigation into possible contamination of sartan medicines began in 2018, after the nitrosamine N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), was identified in valsartan manufactured at a facility based in China.


Last year, the MHRA recalled batches of valsartan containing tablets to pharmacy level in July and November due to possible NDMA and N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) contamination.


In January and February 2019 the MHRA recalled batches of irbesartan containing tablets after testing revealed possible contamination with NDEA.


The MHRA continues to monitor the situation in the UK and are comprehensively investigating the issue alongside the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines (EDQM).


Bernadette Sinclair-Jenkins, MHRA’s Manager, Regulatory Assessment Unit of the Inspection, Enforcement and Standards Division, commented:


“Our priority as regulator is to make sure the medicines you and your family take are effective and acceptably safe. This recall shows we are continuing to investigate potential contamination of sartan containing medicines. There is no evidence at present that medicines containing NDMA, NDEA or NMBA have caused any harm to patients and this recall is a precautionary measure. Because of the risk associated with suddenly stopping high blood pressure medication, continue to take your medicines as prescribed by your doctor.”


Mike Hewitson resigns from NPA board on a point of principle

Mike Hewitson

Mike Hewitson has resigned with immediate effect from the National Pharmacy Association board. Mr. Hewitson released the following public statement yesterday shortly after the NPA board meeting.


“With profound sadness and deep regret I must announce that I have resigned from the Board of Management at the National Pharmacy Association with immediate effect.


“Following the recent election of a vertically integrated wholesaler to the chairmanship of the NPA, I am no longer able to contribute to the leadership of the organisation on principle. At a time when NPA members face an existential battle for survival, made more difficult by the behaviour of wholesalers, large and small, this represents an insoluble conflict of interest.


“The NPA have surrendered moral leadership on the critical issue of price gouging by wholesalers, stock shortages and the precipitous decline of service levels by vertical integrated wholesalers.


“Never have the interests of the independent sector and wholesalers been so far apart. To ensure our continued survival as a profession we must move away from a contract which is based on prescription volume, and purchase margin, but this is in fundamental opposition to the needs and actions of wholesalers.”


Mr. Hewitson concluded by paying tribute to friends and colleagues on the board that he had worked with in the previous eight years of his tenure.


“It has been the greatest pleasure of my professional career to serve the interests of community pharmacy through the NPA. I am so sad to say goodbye to the many colleagues and friends I have made in my eight years on the board, and would like to pay tribute to their dedication and commitment on behalf of the sector.”


Mr. Nitin Sodha has replaced Ian Strachan as Chair of the National Pharmacy Association, following an NPA Board meeting held on Monday, 23rd. April. Mr. Nitin is Managing Director of Knights Chemists. He was first elected to the NPA Board in 2007 and has served as Vice Chair since 2014.