Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) has called for a change in NHS legislation to allow for a national pharmacy flu vaccination service.
Scottish pharmacists should be able to deliver a service similar to the one commissioned in England this year, but NHS rules “prohibits them from doing it at the moment”, CPS chief executive officer Harry McQuillan told C+D on Thursday (December 17).
Mr McQuillan was referring to the 1978 National Health Service Scotland Act, which only allows "medical practitioners" to deliver flu vaccines on the NHS - a definition that does not include pharmacists.
“Legislation needs to change,” he said. “We have been lobbying [on] that for about nine years.”
Success in 2015
Looking back on 2015, Mr McQuillan highlighted the Scottish gluten free service as the year's "biggest success". The scheme pays pharmacists £125 a month to dispense gluten-free products without a prescription.
He also drew attention to the recent urgent care review, which called for community pharmacists to have a "greater profile" in out-of-hours care. The recommendations may help "stabilise" pharmacists' cash flow, Mr McQuillan said.
Challenges in 2016
Looking ahead to next year, he said it would be "interesting" to see where the Scottish government puts its "limited resources".
"The government has always said they will [protect health budgets], so [funding] is unlikely to reduce in the immediate year," he said. But pharmacists would still have to "fight their corner" to ensure their funding remains strong, Mr McQuillan stressed.
Pharmacists are still on the "periphery" of the health and social care agenda in Scotland and need to be more engaged, he added.