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Scottish minor ailments registrations on the rise after fall

The number of people registered with Scotland’s minor ailments service (MAS) is rising slowly after nosediving last year.

MAS registrant numbers fell 19 per cent in the past year, figures released by Scottish health data organisation Information Services Division (ISD) show.

The drop reflected 257,000 registrations that lapsed a year after the service was introduced in July 2006. Registrant numbers have since grown month by month from July 2007.

Fewer than 590,000 patients were registered with MAS in March this year, compared with over 700,000 in March 2007 and a peak of over 817,000 in June 2007.

The figures reflected the expected pattern of a newly-introduced service, Community Pharmacy Scotland spokesperson Alex MacKinnon said. He added that the contract negotiator was pleased by the ongoing monthly increase in registrations, but was lobbying the government to reassess the lapsing of registrations after 12 months of inactivity.

Contractors are paid a capitation rate based on the number of patients registered for MAS at their pharmacies in March. But payments were unlikely to be reduced this year as a result of lapsed registrations, Mr MacKinnon said, because “significantly more” money had been allocated to the service.

Pharmacies with up to 250 MAS patients will now be paid £7,500 per year, compared to £3,910 last year, as announced in August’s payment update.

An increase in script volume of 3.1 per cent over the past year, also revealed by the ISD statistics, highlighted the need for an ongoing cost of service survey, Mr MacKinnon added.

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