Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) have welcomed Scotland’s chief pharmaceutical officer Rose Marie Parr’s vision for pharmacy outlined in Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical Care, launched earlier this week (August 21).
The document, which refreshes Prescription for Excellence, focuses on two key areas: improving NHS pharmaceutical care and enabling NHS pharmaceutical care transformation. It outlines nine commitments and associated actions.
One of the commitments is to improve the planning and delivery of pharmaceutical care with the introduction of a new contract for community pharmaceutical care services with new funding arrangements, as well as a ’pharmacy performer’s list’.
The new contract would give NHS boards the power to enter into contracts for the provision of NHS pharmaceutical care services and provide flexibility to meet local needs. Funding arrangements would support direct care and clinical care outcomes.
The document also commits to increasing access to community pharmacy as the first port of call for managing self-limiting illnesses and supporting self-management of stable long-term conditions.
The Chronic Medication Service (CMS) is to be developed to incorporate a formalised role for pharmacists managing long-term conditions and include medication review, prescribing, monitoring and dose titration.
In addition, pharmacists’ public health role is to be expanded with evidence-based interventions, the development of the Minor Ailment Service (MAS) is to be based on the InverClyde pilot, and the number of community pharmacists undertaking independent prescribing and advanced clinical skills training is to be increased to enable all of this to happen.
Other commitments in the strategy include:
Commenting on the strategy, Professor Rose Marie Parr said: “In the community, we are making good progress in promoting local pharmacies as the first port of call for our most common healthcare needs and I want to encourage more people to see them as their initial point of care. Coupled with the commitment to transform hospital pharmacy services, I believe this strategy will support our ambition to deliver world-class pharmaceutical care.
“The commitments and actions in this strategy will help the public and professions alike realise the true value that pharmacy can bring to our communities and daily lives.”
Harry McQuillan, CPS chief executive officer, said: “Services provided in Scotland’s 1,256 pharmacies are essential to promoting and maintaining the health and wellbeing of the communities they serve. It is reassuring to see this reflected in community pharmacy’s place front-and-centre of this new strategy.
“The commitment to support our members in maximising their clinical capacity will be key to delivering even further on national health and wellbeing priorities. It is only through national strategies and actions that barriers to unlocking the full potential of the Scottish community pharmacy contract can be overcome to meet and exceed the shared ambitions of our members, the Scottish Government and the NHS.
“Community Pharmacy Scotland looks forward to working in partnership with the chief pharmaceutical officer and her team to enact the changes necessary to facilitate our network’s contribution to this vision.”
Alex MacKinnon, RPS director for Scotland, said: “I am delighted to see the strategy launched today and to see many of our RPS in Scotland Manifesto 2016 asks included.
“In addition, our long-term conditions policy called for pharmacists to have a much greater role in the managing and monitoring of people with LTCs. I am pleased to see this aspiration reflected in the strategy for all sectors of the profession.”
Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC, also welcomed the strategy and said the regulator supports its goals for further improvements to the health and care of patients in Scotland. “We look forward to continuing our work with the Scottish government to achieve our shared ambition to further improve the quality of pharmaceutical care in Scotland.”
Kenny Black, managing director of Rowlands, welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to developing and promoting pharmacists’ core clinical services and skills over the next five years.
“I think many pharmacists south of the border will look enviously at the positive and progressive approach which the Scottish Government has adopted. The Scottish Government clearly sees pharmacy as being at the heart of delivering national health and well-being priorities”.
Numark also welcomed the new strategy, in particular the enhanced clinical role for community pharmacists with a view to releasing pressure on GP teams.
The proposed expansion of the MAS will increase opportunities for pharmacists to improve the clinical care of patients, while the proposal to give pharmacists a broader role in independent prescribing and a greater involvement in managing patients with self-limiting conditions provides pharmacy with a more impactful role in improving patient care, said the company.
Similarly, the introduction of an “annual pharmacist-led medication review” for patients with stable long-term conditions, something traditionally undertaken by GPs, and the focus on pharmacists as the medicines experts is particularly welcome, said managing director John D’Arcy.
“This expanded role for pharmacy will require pharmacists to think differently about their practice and will require investment in and development of the skills of pharmacy teams and improvements of processes. In particular, the enhanced use of the skills of pharmacy technicians will require an alteration in the balance of skill mix within pharmacy.”
However, Mr D’Arcy emphasised that the need for a contractual framework that fully reflects the proposed enhanced role and is joined up with other primary care contracts. “It is also essential that the proposed changes are fully and properly resourced.”
Overall, the proposed strategy is “incredibly positive” for both community pharmacy and the patients it serves and builds on the already successful and effective infrastructure that many countries within the UK envy, he said.
Updated August 25
We are making good progress