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Scotland considers allowing pharmacists to offer flu jab

Government will review a 40-year-old law that prevents community pharmacists from offering vaccinations on the NHS

The Scottish government is considering whether to allow community pharmacists to vaccinate patients on the NHS, C+D has learned.

A Scottish law passed in 1978 means that only doctors – or those acting under their direction – can currently vaccinate patients.

As part of a review of vaccinations in the country, the government is considering allowing pharmacists to deliver "some vaccines", and examining “what steps would be needed to make this happen”, it told C+D yesterday (January 6).

"No detail" of review

Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) director of operations Matt Barclay said the review is "encouraging", but the government has so far provided "no detail" and made "no contact" with the representative body about the initiative.

"I'm sure we will be consulted so that we can feed into any review on behalf of our members in due course," he said.

The vaccination rate for at-risk flu patients was slowing in the run-up to last December, and if it continues to drop it will “support our case to widen NHS access via community pharmacies”, Mr Barclay added.

Benefits to patients and GPs

Wigtownshire contractor Fiona McElrea told C+D that Scottish “patients and GP practices would benefit” from a national pharmacy flu service.

“If we can administer a private vaccine, why not an NHS one like in England?” Ms McElrea said. “We spend time discussing the vaccines with patients – they don’t get that [discussion] in practices because [GPs] are churning them out.”


Should Scottish pharmacists be allowed to offer NHS vaccinations? 

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