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Pharmacists need to become advocates for pharmacy in Scotland



WITH the upcoming Scottish elections and the launch of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and Community Pharmacy Scotland Manifestos, it is very important that, where possible, we engage with current and prospective MSPs to explain how important pharmacy is to the future of the NHS.

The RPS Scotland manifesto: Right medicine – Better health – Fitter future, has a number of key messages.

The RPS in Scotland would like newly elected MSPs to help ensure everyone in Scotland has access to pharmacists’ expertise in medicines and that they are able to receive pharmaceutical care regardless of setting. The Community Pharmacy Scotland manifesto has similar ambitions to make the most of community pharmacists’ expertise and accessibility for the benefit of patients and the NHS.

The aim is that by lobbying MSPs and gaining their support, they will help to promote the role pharmacists can play in the NHS and help maximise our potential, improving patient safety and delivering better health outcomes for the public, ultimately resulting in a more effective service.

With this in mind, today I took a break from my prescription bench and approached the pop-up SNP stall across the road from the pharmacy. The local candidate standing for SNP east, Gillian Martin, was canvassing across the road.


I had a great chat with the candidate and the other supporters, all of whom were surprised to hear the breadth of roles that pharmacists now practice.

Several of the group did not know for example that pharmacists could now prescribe independently and also that through Prescription for Excellence in Scotland that this approach is now being advocated. I handed over a copy of the RPS manifesto and headed back to the pharmacy.

I think pharmacists have a much more significant role to play in the NHS, however if we don’t articulate this to the decision makers in government then we may never get the chance!

Johnathan Laird is a community pharmacist independent prescriber with a special interest in asthma. He is based in based in Aberdeen.

Follow Johnathan @JohnathanLaird

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1 thought on “Pharmacists need to become advocates for pharmacy in Scotland”

  1. Dr Sue Brechin , Consultant in Sexual Health

    With the introduction of health and social care integration, putting individuals in the driving seat for care delivered locally , community pharmacy will have a key role to play. In addition, the pregnancy and parenthood in young people strategy just published in March 2016 recognises how important access to contraceptive advice and treatment is for young people. Access to contraception in different settings, including non- health settings, will see local community pharmacies have a key role .

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