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Scotland is highly satisfied with its community pharmacy experiences

Monday 10 August 2020

Pharmacy Simulation Centre at RGU
A collaborative research project exploring the value of community pharmacies in Scotland suggests that 90% of people are so confident in their local pharmacists’ abilities that they want GPs to work more closely with them to ensure the best possible care.

Co-produced at Robert Gordon University (RGU), the study shows that around 2,100 people in Scotland are provided with advice-only from community pharmacies every hour, equating to more than 84,000 consultations within Scotland’s pharmacy network per week. 

More than 80% of people using community pharmacies in Scotland have expressed complete satisfaction with their experiences. While 41% of people would go to their GP if their pharmacist was unavailable, 60% access their community pharmacy because of their relationship with the pharmacy team. 

Leading the study for RGU was Scott Cunningham, Professor of Pharmacy Education and Practice. Scott said: “This work has shone a light on the fantastic range of services and highly qualified teams that provide easy access to healthcare through the community pharmacy network. 

“Community pharmacies have stayed open throughout the recent challenging pandemic times, helping support the healthcare efforts and alleviating pressure points in other parts of the health services. It is great to have evidence that these services are highly valued and accessible to users.’’

The study was commissioned by Community Pharmacy Scotland and carried out by academic researchers at RGU’s School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences and the University of Strathclyde’s Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences. It provided an in-depth analysis of the Advice, Referral and Treatment services of community pharmacies in Scotland. 

The publication of the study coincides with the launch of NHS Pharmacy First in Scotland: a new service in all community pharmacies across Scotland offering consultations for the treatment of minor illnesses and common clinical conditions. For the first time, it is open to people living in care homes and will require care home and pharmacy teams to work closely together in new ways to support residents. 

Harry McQuillan, CEO of Community Pharmacy Scotland, said: “CPS is delighted with the report, which demonstrates the clear value of community pharmacy teams. The report allows us to highlight this value with key decision makers. NHS Pharmacy First Scotland will only add to this report in terms of data. 

“This report, alongside this new service, should support further development of Pharmacy First so that the right person can receive the right care in the right place – with that place so often being the pharmacy at the centre of the individual’s community.” 

The report was prompted by a lack of evidence around the extent and value of community pharmacy teams as an advice and referral function. The study highlights the significant role community pharmacy teams play, alongside GPs, as a key component of the primary care team in encouraging self-management and acting as a touchpoint for Health and Social Care at the heart of the community.

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