The conservative party in Scotland have created a five-point plan aimed at supporting pharmacy north of the border. These five points cover pharmacist access to medical records, pharmacist prescribing, pharmacist-led medication reviews, pharmacy workforce planning and the potential introduction of 24-hour pharmacy services.
The five-points include;
- Community pharmacist to be given access to appropriate medical records.
- Community pharmacists to be given the opportunity to be trained as prescribers and allow more common ailments to be treated in community pharmacy.
- Pharmacists to lead medication reviews for patients.
- Produce a workforce plan for pharmacy to allow for an increased clinical role in pharmacy clinics, GP surgeries, care homes and hospitals.
- Exploring the introduction of 24-hour pharmacy services.
Miles Briggs the Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health & Sport commented:
“Community pharmacists have a huge wealth of experience and can offer advice to patients on a whole range of issues. I believe pharmacies should be at the heart of primary care as they can reduce demand for other services. We know 1 in 10 GP consultations and 1 in 20 A&E attendances could be managed by community pharmacists through schemes such as the Minor Ailment Service.
“I hope that we can explore ways for pharmacists to help more patients manage chronic conditions and improve their quality of life. Increasing the role of community pharmacists is key to my vision of a sustainable NHS going forward. For me community pharmacy should not only be asked to help when the NHS faces a crisis like we have seen over the winter months with the flu crisis – it’s about community pharmacy working hand in hand with the NHS to deliver the care and advice we all want to see people in Scotland having improved access to.
“I was very pleased to see community pharmacists given the power to prescribe antibiotics for UTIs and skin conditions, and hope that the Scottish Government will look into other minor illnesses which community pharmacists can treat in this way. With our GP services struggling with increasing demand, initiatives like this must be encouraged. It makes sense for patients and our NHS.
“Last year I called for community pharmacies to have access to GP records, as Scotland is well behind the times in this regard. I believe allowing pharmacists this access would mean patients receive better, safer and more accessible care. I wrote to the Health Secretary about this issue and was pleased to hear that the Scottish Government is working with the BMA and Information Commissioner on this issue. I will be continuing to keep the pressure on SNP Ministers to act.
“Under this SNP Government a crisis has developed in our GP services, and we need to start looking at ways to alleviate the pressure. Pharmacies are in an ideal position to help, and that’s why we want to see them become a key partner in primary health care. By increasing their capabilities and allowing them to become trained prescribers we can allow pharmacies to treat common ailments more speedily. And by exploring the introduction of extended hours for pharmacies, including in 24-hour supermarkets, we can help provide immediate help around the clock. This would not only take pressure off our GPs but also provide better patient care – something that is key to this plan.”
“Making Scotland’s pharmacies a key partner in healthcare is our goal. Our five-point plan sees measures that will enhance pharmacies current capabilities, with the aim of reducing the workload pressures currently faced by GPs ultimately leading to better patient care within our health service.”