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Scotland's minor ailment service details published

Community pharmacists in Scotland will soon find out the details of the minor ailment service, one of the core services within their new contract.

The service specification for the minor ailment service is due to be published this week. It is the first of the four core service specifications to be agreed by the Scottish Executive Health Department and the Scottish Pharmaceutical General Council.

Frank Owens, SPGC chairman, said the specification built on the knowledge and experience gained through the 177 pilot sites already operating the service. “It also allows for the future expansion of the scheme should further opportunities arise,” he commented.

Patients who are exempt from prescription charges will be able to receive free treatment for minor ailments direct from a pharmacy through the service. Patients have to register with a pharmacy, something that will be managed via an electronic central patient registration system.

When a registered patient consults the pharmacist about symptoms, the pharmacist can provide advice only, treatment and advice, or referral to another health professional. The pharmacist records the outcome of the consultation on an electronic community pharmacy (CP2) prescription form. Treatments must be selected from a national formulary.

Negotiations on remuneration and the other contract service specifications are ongoing. Mr Owens remains cautiously optimistic. “We continue to make good progress with Scottish contract negotiations,” he said. “Work is continuing both on the public health service specification and on funding negotiations in general.”

The minor ailment and public health services are scheduled to begin in April 2006 with the other two core services following in late 2006–early 2007. Pharmacists need to ensure their computer systems can run the electronic minor ailment service by March 2006. The Journal will publish further details of the minor ailment service specification shortly.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10020471

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