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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S5W-27892
Asked by: Richard Lyle, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish National Party
Date lodged: 12 March 2020


To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to direct people seeking medical attention to the new NHS Pharmacy First Scotland Service.

Current status: Answered by Jeane Freeman on 15 April 2020


The NHS Pharmacy First Scotland service will replace the existing Minor Ailment Service and provide greater accessibility to the population of Scotland allowing people to visit their pharmacy first for the treatment of minor illnesses and common clinical conditions.

The service was due to go live in April 2020 but due to the current unprecedented pressure on the community pharmacy network in responding to COVID-19, I have decided that now is not the right time to introduce a major new service and the implementation date has been postponed.

I announced on 23 March that we would extend the eligibility of the existing Minor Ailment Service as an interim measure, allowing pharmacy teams to support Covid community Hubs and Assessment centres and also taking unnecessary pressure away from general practice for minor illnesses and common conditions.

It is intended that NHS Pharmacy First Scotland should go live at the earliest opportunity once COVID-19 pressures on community pharmacies have subsided to the extent that they are in a position to fully deliver the new service.

When the service goes live we will use national media opportunities, including social media, to raise awareness of NHS Pharmacy First Scotland. Information about the service will be made available to members of the public on the NHS Inform website. A new set of patient information leaflets and posters for display in health and social care settings are in production. The patient information leaflet will be available online in a range of languages. Resources are also being produced for GP practices and other Health and Social Care settings to assist in directing patients to community pharmacies where appropriate once the service is in place.