This site is intended for health professionals only

Bigger role for pharmacists planned


Pharmacies in Scotland will provide a five-star chronic medication service for patients with conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, under new government plans.

Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said as part of a transformation of pharmacists’ roles, they will draw up care plans for people with ongoing medical conditions.

It is hoped the scheme, whereby GPs will share patient records with pharmacies, will cut the number of drugs going to waste and free up doctors’ time.

People with long-term conditions will register with a pharmacist, and receive personalised care on a regular basis.

The initiative also helps ensure that patients receive the right medication at the right time, improving patient safety and reducing medicine wastage.

GPs will be able to give patients serial prescriptions, that will last for either 24 or 48 weeks, with people then able to collect their medicines from the pharmacy every few weeks without needing to go to the doctors.

More than 80 million prescriptions are dispensed in Scotland each year, with about two-thirds of these being given out to patients with long-term conditions.

Announcing details of the scheme, Ms Sturgeon said: “The chronic medication service will transform the role of pharmacists, making better use of their skills and expertise as they work alongside GPs to provide quality care for the millions of Scots who use our pharmacies the most.”

She continued: “As well as improving patient care, this service will also help to reduce drug wastage. In these tough financial times it is important to be as efficient as possible.

“Thanks to this new system, patients will receive a new five-star service within existing budgets.”

The chronic medication service is being implemented between May and December this year, with community pharmacy contractors each registering up to 50 patients during this period.

The Scottish Government said that fees to pharmacies for providing the new service will be provided from within current budgets.

Copyright Press Association 2010

Scottish Government

Be in the know
Subscribe to Hospital Pharmacy Europe newsletter and magazine