Numark broadly welcomes the new strategy for primary and secondary care pharmacies in Scotland as set out in ‘Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical Care’. The strategy quite properly includes an over-arching focus on an enhanced clinical role for pharmacists in the delivery of care to patients with a view to releasing pressure on GP teams. Pharmacy technicians will also have a much more integral and enhanced role to help support the pharmacist deliver against the vision for community pharmacy in Scotland.
A core component of this will be the proposed expansion of MAS which, building on the access inherent in the community pharmacy network, will increase opportunities to improve clinical care of patients.
We welcome the proposal to give pharmacists a broader role in independent prescribing and as part of this, to have a greater involvement in managing patients with self-limiting conditions such as UTIs, impetigo etc. This is excellent news for the profession as it provides pharmacy with a more impactful role in managing and improving patient care.
We welcome the proposal to strengthen CMS to provide more personalised care to patients with stable long term conditions. Of particular note is the proposed introduction of an ‘annual pharmacist-led medication review’, something traditionally undertaken by the GP which will increase reach to patients who will benefit from a more detailed care plan. The focus on pharmacists as the medicines expert is particularly welcome.
The digital agenda features heavily in the strategy with a move towards pharmacy becoming entirely paperless through the development of existing ETP solutions. Experience in England and Wales demonstrates that this is likely to be challenging, but if successful will ultimately support the theme of liberating the pharmacist to deliver against NHS Scotland’s expectations within the pharmacy contract.
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 within the pharmacy environment. In particular, the enhanced use of the skills of pharmacy technicians will require an alteration in the balance of skill mix within the pharmacy.
Underpinning all of the proposed changes is the need for a contractual framework which 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.
All in all the proposed strategy is incredibly positive for both community pharmacy and their patients and builds on the already successful and effective infrastructure that many counties within the UK envy. Numark is very pleased to see the recognition given to the many ways in which community pharmacists can improve the health and wellbeing of local communities and looks forward to working with members in deploying the many resources we have to assist them in making the strategy a reality.