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CPS appoints new chief executive as Harry McQuillan to stand down

Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) has promoted its operations director Matt Barclay to its top job as successor to current chief executive Harry McQuillan, it has revealed.

Community Pharmacy Scotland’s (CPS) chief executive Harry McQuillan is standing down after more than 17 years at the head of Scotland’s industry negotiator, it announced last week (September 21).

CPS said that its board “unanimously” recommended its current director of operations Matt Barclay to take over from Mr McQuillan from February 2024.

Read more: Scotland to roll out national naloxone service as pharmacy saves two lives

Mr Barclay told C+D yesterday (September 26) that he had been part of a two-year “focussed succession planning programme”.

As director of operations, he has worked closely with Mr McQuillan “for many years” and is “excited and ready to step into the CEO role”, he said.


“Major transformation”


Mr McQuillan was appointed as CEO in July 2006, at a time of “major transformation” for Scotland’s community pharmacies, a CPS spokesperson told C+D.

During his tenure, Scotland’s community pharmacies moved away from only supplying medicines and introduced a minor ailment service, chronic medication service and public health service, they said.

These services have “evolved and become embedded in day-to-day practice”, they added.

Read more: £400m guaranteed income for Scots pharmacies as 2023/24 details emerge

The spokesperson said that the “specific achievements” of Scotland’s community pharmacies during Mr McQuillan’s time in office had included the network’s role during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the launch of Scotland’s Pharmacy First programme.

Behind the scenes, Mr McQuillan had worked to build “collaborative relationships” and to get policy makers to “buy-in” to the potential of the sector, they added.

Read more: Scotland’s model for pharmacy offers lessons for England’s future

Mr McQuillan told C+D that the sector’s “continued success” had been built on demonstrating the value that the sector brings and a “vision for the future” that CPS members could rally around.

“There are always challenges to be faced,” he said, noting the most recent negotiations between CPS and the Scottish government. 

However, he added that the strong relationships “built over the years” helped the sector to “work through disagreements and come to a mutually acceptable solution for all”.




Mr McQuillan said that he was “delighted” for Mr Barclay and for CPS, adding that he would work as an advisor to Mr Barclay “in the background” for a period of time.

And he said that with the next CPS election process starting in January 2025, the “timing is right” to allow Mr Barclay to “fully establish himself in the CEO role”.

Read more: Scotland to see ‘largest ever' £12.3m global sum uplift, government reveals

“I wish Mr Barclay all the best in his new role and I am sure he will be a great success,” he added.

CPS told C+D that the appointment of a new operations director “will be made in due course”.

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