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Umesh Modi is a chartered accountant, and Pamini Jatheeskumar is a chartered certified accountant at Silver Levene...
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Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
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community pharmacistsDecember 2 2015

Community pharmacies should play a more prominent future role in out of hours services, providing advice and treatment for minor ailments, a review has recommended. It is advocating pharmacy access to electronic records and calls for more use to be made of a range of existing pharmacy services.

In addition, it says a national primary care workforce plan “should be developed and implemented without delay.” This should include enhanced and sufficient training places for future pharmacy workforce requirements as well as for GPs, nursing and allied health professions.

The recommendations come in the main report of the Scottish Government’s National Review of Primary Care Out of Hours Services, which was commissioned in January 2015. Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie has now published the Review’s findings and recommendations, proposing “that a whole system approach will enable a safe, sustainable, patient centred service model to be developed to enable better joint working.”

Its recommendations around the future contribution of the pharmacy workforce include:

giving pharmacists protocol-driven, secure access to electronic patient information to underpin best care and to facilitate optimal communications with other health services;
greater public awareness and use of the Minor Ailment Service (MAS) should be encouraged in community pharmacies to advise and treat these and other common clinical conditions;
community pharmacy patient group directions (PGDs) should be extended to enable assessment and management of a broader range of common clinical conditions;
there should be further development of the role of pharmacists by encouraging the uptake and use of additional clinical skills and prescribing capability, including their role in OOH services and within NHS 24.

“These recommendations, including the extended set of recommendations provided jointly by Community Pharmacy Scotland, Health Board Directors of Pharmacy and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Scotland, should be taken forward in the context of the Prescription for Excellence strategy for pharmaceutical care in Scotland,” says the report.

The Scottish Government has noted that the “main recommendations focus on the need for multi-disciplinary teams – including GPs, nurses, physiotherapists, community pharmacists, social care and other specialists – working together at urgent care resource hubs across Scotland.

The Government has made £1 million of initial funding “available immediately to fast-track the testing of the new urgent care model. A detailed Government response to the recommendations and a national implementation plan, including an outline of investment to support delivery, will follow in spring 2016.”

Responding to the Review’s publication, Dr John McAnaw, Chair of the RPS Scottish Pharmacy Board, said: “I was delighted to read the report and see community pharmacy being clearly visible within the new model of out of hours care.

“There are key recommendations that support pharmacists having a greater role and profile in the delivery of unscheduled care which is very positive, and the RPS is committed to help develop and support the expansion of the pharmacist's role in OOH care in the months and years ahead.

“We are also delighted to see that pharmacists will at last be ‘plugged in’ to the electronic patient record, and eventually be able to electronically share and receive information from other health care providers. This will be a key enabler for pharmacy into the future, and ultimately benefit patients and improve patient safety.”

Links:

Scottish Government ‘Main Report of the National Review of Primary Care Out of Hours Services’

NRPCOOHS ‘Pulling together: transforming urgent care for the people of Scotland’

Scottish Government ‘National Review of Primary Care Out-of-Hours Services’

Scottish Government response

RPS in Scotland comment

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