Jonathan Burton on leading pharmacy out of a crisis

Jonathan Burton MBE community pharmacist independent prescriber and Chair of the Scottish RPS Board


Jonathan Burton is Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Scottish Pharmacy Board and he has been on the frontline in community pharmacy throughout the COVID-19 crisis.


We caught up to have a chat about the myriad of unprecedented things that pharmacists and their teams have had to cope with over the last few months. Changes in legislation, delays in registration of pre-registration pharmacists, opportunism from certain organisations and the performance of the RPS during the crisis.



Below are some of the questions we put to Jonathan. Watch the interview to hear how he responded.


Where do we go next in pharmacy?

From a general perspective how do think the government in Scotland has performed in response to the pandemic?

Has the national question in Scotland and the way decisions are taken favoured the profession?

How has the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) performed during the crisis?

How do you think RPS members feel about the decision to make resources free to the whole profession at the point when the RPS value proposition is arguably most potent?

Have you got any concerns about some of the decisions made by any organisation during the pandemic?

How can RPS support provisionally registered pharmacists?

Do you think there will be increased responsibility on pre-reg tutors during this provisional registration process?

Do you think there is a chance that the issue of vicarious liability could become an issue for pre-reg tutors especially if a provisionally registered student that they are supervising fail the registration exam?

Do you feel that pharmacists have adequate development opportunities over the years and if not why has investment been lacking?

If we encourage remote consultation services like NHS Near Me in community pharmacy why will people need to go to a community pharmacy?

Can you tell us about your early experiences of using NHS Near Me?

Who do you think the next Chief Pharmaceutical Officer of Scotland will be?


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£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.