Patients come first at the local chemist

Community pharmacy network can help the people of Scotland. Picture: Jon Savage
Community pharmacy network can help the people of Scotland. Picture: Jon Savage
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Injecting a little help and expertise into people’s daily lives, says Harry McQuillan

COMMUNITY Pharmacy Scotland, like many organisations, works hard to promote pharmacy on behalf of our members. Like many other organisations we also develop a messages which reflects the ambitions of our members, the pharmacy network, to enable them to excel in the type of service delivery for people up and down the country.

Our priorities broadly focus on three areas where our members feel, with the right focus and resource attached, the potential of the community pharmacy network can be maximised. These priorities build on areas where patients tell us they value the access and expertise of their community pharmacists and their teams.

Pharmacy as the First Port of Call

Why: GP and A&E resources are stretched like never before and community pharmacy can support the NHS by ensuring the public access the right healthcare professional, at the right time in their community. This solution would save money to be used in other areas of the NHS.

How: Current services and frameworks can be developed further to allow the community pharmacy to play an even greater role as part of the primary care team:

• The current cost effective Minor Ailment Service should be extended to treat more common conditions

• Appropriate access to relevant patient information to allow safe and effective treatment of more patients in the community. This will prevent unnecessary in- and out-of-hours contacts for patients that can easily be dealt with in a community pharmacy setting.

• The community pharmacy should be viewed as an integral part of primary care with improved referral pathways to and from each setting including out-of-hours.

Support (people with their medicines)

Why: A reduction in inappropriate hospital admissions, reduced medication waste and improved quality of life can all be achieved when the public are supported to get the best from their medication. The network of community pharmacy healthcare professionals can use their expertise in medicines to support these areas in a cost effective manner ensuring that valuable NHS resources are used appropriately.

How: The potential of the Chronic Medication Service (CMS) should be fully realised in a variety of ways:

• Working in partnership and integrating further with NHS colleagues and services

• Targeted support can be delivered for those most likely to suffer ill health

• Polypharmacy (people on five or more medicines) policy should be incorporated formally into CMS

Prevent (ill-health from occurring by working proactively in partnership with individuals)

Why: We believe that the community pharmacy network can be at the forefront of tackling the country’s public health challenges to prevent ill health occurring. Patients can also be dealt with in a community pharmacy to prevent inappropriate hospital admissions be supported to improve their health outcomes in partnership with the pharmacy team.

How: A number of public health areas should be expanded and resourced through the community pharmacy network including:

• NHS Vaccination services

• Alcohol misuse awareness service

• Current sexual health service provision should be enhanced

Adequately resourced the community pharmacy network can deliver more for the people of Scotland and support the wider NHS by alleviating the burden elsewhere.

• Harry McQuillan is chief executive of Community Pharmacy Scotland. www.communitypharmacyscotland.org.uk

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