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All Scottish pharmacists set to prescribe antibiotics for UTIs

Health boards across Scotland will provide the antibiotics service in time for winter
Health boards across Scotland will provide the antibiotics service in time for winter

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.

Would you like to prescribe antibiotics for UTIs?

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Rearranging deck chairs on Titanic I see.


Allan Wilson, Community pharmacist

Once again the Scottish Government making good use of the community pharmacy network and having faith in the pharmacist as a valued member of the Primary Healthcare team

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

I feel sorry for you poor pharmacists in Boots, you will soon have another target to attain, and staff will be pressured to ask customers about their urinary habbits. There will be those teachers' pets, the pretend-doctors, those with management aspirations who will embrace this as another great leap forward for pharmacy, not.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Kind of tricky to set targets on wee-wee infections though...

I have to say it's a little hypocritical though of someone who claims to be an area manager to preach about targets and pressures. Jonny, if that is really your job then YOU are part of the problem.

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

That should help assist resistance to antbiotics, great fxxx idea lolx

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Pharmacists would probably be a lot more careful in giving out antibiotics than GPs who have their fingers poised over the print button as soon as you walk in their room. It may well actually help to alleviate AB resistance.

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

Nonsense, need access to at least dip stick msu samples and access to getting msu samples tested. Most UTIs are resistant to trimethoprim, depends what's on offer.....anyway can't see it improveing abx resistance. thanks

Samira Zaidi, Pharmacy technician

Very well said 

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

What would you know?

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

Normally post code lotteries only affect patients. It is now affecting community pharmacies!!! In Scotland, the sector is being supported to make significant clinical interventions and promoting the health and well-being of the Scottish people. South of Hadrian's wall, our sector is slowly and steadily being hollowed out to provide a supply only function without pharmacist involvement.

What do the Chief Pharmaceutical Officers of both Scotland and England make of this statement?

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

You're right Ben. The cuts were to allow the government to invest in the shiny new Pharmacy Innovation Fund. £42m. What exactly have we seen of this? 

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

We've seen NUMSAS (alternative spellings are available) which is a sham. Other than that, the fund keeps decreasing and I'm not aware of anyone who's successfully applied for a piece of PhIF pie

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