Scotland strategy bearing fruit

In Scotland there’s a definite feeling that elements of the pharmacy strategy are beginning to come together, says Ross Ferguson

Ross Ferguson

Something that caught the eye of many colleagues in England was the announcement that the Scottish Government was providing dedicated funding for the Additional Cost of Teaching (ACT) of experiential learning (EL) for pharmacy undergraduates for 2018-19.

The hope is that this fantastic and pragmatic initiative will not only reimburse the costs involved, but that it will help to expand and enhance the quality of EL in hospital, community and primary care.

A fee of £2,000 will be paid to EL providers who are hosting pharmacy students as a contribution to training fees. NES is working with the two universities to identify the community pharmacy contractors and health boards who have agreed to support EL in 2018/19.

To be eligible to receive the payment, the pharmacist facilitating EL needs to complete e-learning modules on Turas (the NES online learning platform), attend a full day’s face-to-face training session and commit to providing feedback on the student’s performance to the university at the end of the placement.

More on MAS

More details have been made available about the redesign of the Scottish minor ailments scheme (MAS) and the development of an enhanced chronic medication service (CMS).

The redesigned minor ailment and common conditions service will be made available to all people in Scotland within the year, and will be supported with a promotional campaign using the strapline, ‘Feeling unwell? Pharmacy first’. An expanded service, able to provide medicines for a wider range of conditions, can only be good news for the NHS and patients. What this will mean for OTC sales remains to be seen.

Pharmacy teams will have to continue to manage the supply of medicines appropriately, ensuring that people with shopping lists are reminded about the purpose of the scheme.

The commitment to “strengthening and refreshing” CMS to enable community pharmacists to provide “personalised care for people with stable long-term conditions” is also to be welcomed.


The “enhanced” CMS, which will be rebranded as the medicines care and review (MCR) service, will build in medication reviews with pharmacists prescribing and monitoring patients’ medicines.

However, one thing still missing from these two patient care initiatives is access to patient records. At the Pharmacy Show recently the chief pharmaceutical officer Rose Marie Parr was unable to put a timeframe on this. I don’t think that’s from a lack of desire – just a case of battling through the quagmire of bureaucracy and technological challenges.

Whatever the reasons, solutions have to be found, and soon, or all the aspirations for pharmacy will remain just that.

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