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All Scottish pharmacists set to prescribe antibiotics for UTIs

The Scottish government has rolled out a scheme across every health board in the country to enable pharmacists to treat patients with urinary tract infections (UTIs) and impetigo.

The Pharmacy First initiative – which is based on a pilot that ran in NHS Forth Valley last year – enables community pharmacists to treat "uncomplicated UTIs in women and impetigo in children" without a prescription, the government said.

NHS Grampian has already rolled out an antibiotics service for women with UTIs, which was announced at the end of last year.

Launch in time for winter

Under the scheme, each health board is putting in place patient group directions (PGD) so community pharmacists can treat UTIs with trimethoprim or nitrofurantoin in patients aged between 16 and 65 years.

Pharmacists will also be able to provide fusidic acid 2% cream under the PGD for “localised symptoms suggestive of impetigo”.

The government anticipates that most health boards across Scotland will be in a position to provide the service “in time for the height of this year’s winter period”, it said.

The aim of the rollout is to improve access for patients, reduce pressure on GPs and maximise pharmacists’ skills, it added.

Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) told C+D it worked closely with health board colleagues and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society to support out-of-hours care from pharmacies in Scotland.

“We are delighted this was recognised with funding to support a rollout across Scotland,” CPS director of operations Matt Barclay told C+D.

“It has been demonstrated in areas already that making use of access to pharmacists and expertise in this way is welcomed by the public and supports the wider healthcare team,” he added.

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