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Pharmacotherapy service will not be standard across Scotland

The design of the GP-based pharmacotherapy service planned for Scotland; including whether it is provided mainly by pharmacists or technicians, is being left to local decisions, it has emerged.

The Scottish government confirmed on 28 November 2019 that it was still committed to every GP practice having access to “a pharmacist with advanced clinical skills” by 2021, but said it was likely that the practice-based service — funded and planned as part of the Scottish GP 2018 contract— will differ across the country.

“Our investment, as part of £55m provided this year through the primary care improvement fund, will increase the number of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who will work as part of the multidisciplinary team in GP practices,” a spokesperson told The Pharmaceutical Journal.

However, they added: “It is for integrated authorities to shape the necessary pharmacy recruitment in each local area.”

It is expected that each local integrated authority — new organisations which bring together health and social care — will be responsible for identifying local pharmacotherapy need, deciding how to staff the service and then recruiting as necessary.

Community Pharmacy Scotland has reiterated its concern that there are not enough pharmacists or technicians to run the service, despite the secured funding and government commitment.

A spokesperson said: “The [pharmacist] recruitment pressures on community pharmacy, hospital and primary care continue to exist because there are more jobs than people.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207412

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