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Scottish government mulls community pharmacy ‘women’s health’ service

The Scottish government is considering setting up a women’s health community pharmacy service to improve healthcare for women.

The Women’s Health Plan, which the government published last week, sets out Scotland’s plan to improve health and reduce inequalities for women.

One of the plan’s long-term objectives is to “provide and promote a ‘Women’s Health’ community pharmacy service”, and the government also wants pharmacies to provide “routine sexual healthcare”.

A Scottish government spokesperson told C+D yesterday (August 23) that the government is “keen to explore how our community pharmacies can provide greater support in women’s health”, beyond signposting them to other services and providing advice.

The government will also look at “developing person-centered services that really make a difference and lead to better outcomes for women”, the spokesperson added.

“Community pharmacies already provide vital support and advice for women and as part of our implementation of the Women’s Health Plan, we will work with them to develop a pharmacy plan that builds on this,” they said.

 

Bridging contraception service

 

The Scottish government will introduce a community pharmacy-based “bridging contraception service…later this year, as the first step in expanding the community pharmacy network’s role in supporting women’s health at a Scotland-wide level".

“This will add to the sexual health service already provided by community pharmacies and build upon the successful Bridge-It project, which was piloted in pharmacies in Lothian and Tayside,” the spokesperson added.

Adam Osprey, policy and development pharmacist at Community Pharmacy Scotland, told C+D last week (August 20) that, while the “most advanced discussions to date are around the bridging contraception service”, the service could grow and “include any number of elements that provide women with more information and choice as to how to manage every aspect of their health”.

“We’re delighted that the network has clearly been recognised as a vehicle to deliver high-quality women’s health services and look forward to working with other key stakeholders to take this important work forward,” Mr Osprey added.

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