The Scottish government has commissioned a gluten-free service across every Scottish pharmacy following a successful 18-month pilot.
The trial – in which pharmacists were paid £125 a month to dispense gluten-free products without a prescription – received "overwhelming support" from patients, pharmacists and GPs, the government said on Friday (September 18).
A survey of 516 Scottish GPs polled in March and April found that 98% wanted the service to continue, along with 93% of more than 1,500 patients and 92% of more than 350 community pharmacists.
Scottish health secretary Shona Robison said expanding the trial into a national service will give patients “greater control and more flexibility in managing their condition”.
“As well as making best use of the clinical skills of pharmacists, the service frees up GP time, which can be better spent with patients with complex needs,” Ms Robison said. The government wants to "replicate" this collaborative approach "across our primary care service", she added.
A government review of the pilot set out 10 recommendations for the continuation of the service, including the creation of electronic prescribing forms for pharmacies and further evaluation of the benefits of annual pharmacy health checks for coeliac patients.
It also recommended greater alignment between Scottish health boards' gluten-free formularies, and suggested the service could be extended to care home residents.
Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) is “delighted” that the government's report highlighted the benefits of the service, said CPS pharmacy services manager Matt Barclay.
The representative body is also “heartened” by the government's recommendation to develop an electronic prescribing solution to “allow more efficient service provision", he told C+D. CPS is looking forward to working with the government “to support the implementation of the recommendations”, he added.
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