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Lloyds chief rejects Scottish plans for patient link to a named pharmacist

Practice Plans for patients to have a closer relationship with their pharmacist by registering with one individual will take away patient choice, Celesio UK chief Cormac Tobin (pictured) has warned

The Scottish government's plan for patients to register with a named pharmacist is "the wrong move" that will prevent patients from deciding where they receive care, Celesio UK managing director Cormac Tobin has warned.  

The Scottish government's 10-year vision for pharmacy, published last month (September 19), called for patients to have a closer relationship with their pharmacist by registering with one individual.  

But it was "not acceptable" to control how patients received their pharmaceutical care, said Mr Tobin - who took the helm of Lloydspharmacy's parent company in March - at the Pharmacy Show in Birmingham on Monday (September 30).

"The patient must have the right to choose where they want to go. It has to be the authority of the individual" Cormac Tobin, managing director, Celesio UK

More on pharmacy in Scotland

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10-year vision for Scottish pharmacy

"The freedom has always got to be with the patient and no one else. If you take that away you're a fool," he said during a debate on whether pharmacy was fit for purpose between leaders of the large multiples.

"The patient must have the right to choose where they want to go, when they want to go and who they go to. It has to be the authority of the individual," he said. However, some parts of vision were wonderful, he added.  

Mr Cormac joined Boots and Rowlands in cautiously welcoming the Scottish government's overall plans for pharmacists to take on more of a clinical role in the NHS, which includes all pharmacists becoming NHS-accredited clinical pharmacist independent prescribers by 2023. But more details about how it would work in practice were needed, they said.  

Boots superintendent pharmacist Steve Banks said the report offered an opportunity for the sector, but more work needed to be done to decide how the report's recommendations to separate medicines supply from clinical services could be implemented without making it more complicated for patients.  

"From a patient care point of view, how do you make sure the supply of medicines, and the clinical knowledge that comes with that, remains joined up?" he asked.  

Rowlands Pharmacy national clinical liaison manager Liz Stafford said that, even if the plans went ahead, community pharmacists would still be "pivotal" for delivering advice and services to patients who visited the pharmacy to collect their medicine.  

"I don't necessarily see it as black and white, where community pharmacy only does supply and nothing else. I think there'll be a mixture of services," she said. The detail of the proposals needed to be worked out before its impact on pharmacy could be decided, she added.  

Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) chief executive Harry McQuillan said there was more to be done on the implementation of the plans.  

Last week, the NPA, Pharmacists Defence Association and CPS praised the Scottish government for recognising the value of pharmacists' skills. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society described the plan as "unheralded territory".  

The vision was in response to the government-commissioned Review of NHS pharmaceutical care of patients in the community in Scotland, published in August, which called for pharmacy to shed its image of providing "a supply function in a commercial environment". 

What is more important? A closer relationship with your patients or for them to have a choice of pharmacies?

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Boom Shakalaka, Locum pharmacist

Nice own goal from Tobin - he's allegedly good at that! 

Michael Stewart, Community pharmacist

With EPS R2 every patient has to nominate a chosen pharmacy, its not much of a leap to go from there to the new Scottish "vision"

Patient's will choose their pharmacy/pharmacits at the beginning and if they don't like the service they receive, they can go to another pharmacy, and their notes will follow - juts like a GP.

This is what we have been waiting for - finally a government that takes pharmacists seriously and recognises their skills.

So careers advice for the aspiring pharmacist? Move to Scotland.

And if you move there before starting Uni, you'll even get free tuition! Bonus.

Pharmacist Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

I dont see what his problem is?! Surely its a good opportunity for PROPER professional services income. Maybe he realises that MURs can be conducted in between waiting prescriptions whereas this service will require pharmacists to be away from dispensary and double cover required. But hang on, isnt the RP regulations meant to allow pharmacists to be away from pharmacy for up to two hours for clinical duties???


Celesio UK managing director Cormac Tobin is talking b****cks

Patient choice......... Where is patient choice in villages/towns where Lloyds have exclusive rites being the only pharmacy

Pickin and choosing......what suits their agenda
support your local independent pharmacies.........

Jagtej Rye, Other healthcare professional

I particularly like the first line of your post!


Independent contractors.......
Plz pay your employed pharmacists/locums a reasonable wage........

reward hardwork by paying more for those locums which work harder...!!!

Stephen Riley, Community pharmacist

I was a member of the working group that developed the PDA Pharmacy Roadmap project, of which key principles are part of the Scottish Plans.

I don't recall any part of the Pharmacy Roadmap proposals or Scottish Report which implies patients will be restricted as to which Pharmacist they recieve their care from. Obviously, if we are going to take on this enhanced clinical roles as prescribers and manage the likes of long term condtions there will have to be a form of patient registration and a named Pharmacist providing care to that paitent. That is just common sense from a governace perspective and will enhance the quality of patient care.

You do have to wonder whether Mr Tobin's concerns are patient care of profit protection motivated. It goes without saying that patients must be free to choose where they get their care from, but he does not seem concerned with GP registration. The Government does not dictate which GP we use and if you wish you can move to another practice. Surely, this would be the case with a named Pharmacist scenario. Also, he does not seem concerned with the current practice of pharmacies signing customers up to named pharmacy repeat medication ordering serivces or EPS nominations.

I suspect it is the fact they are not able to retain (like other mutiples) Pharmacists to remain in branches longer term and probably won't like it if we hold the contract and say in how the clinical services are run.

The plans do need fleshing out and we need to know the detail. That said as a concept it would mean more meaningful roles for us, better patient relationships and better use of our skills.

James Waldron, Editorial

Dear Mr Riley,

Thank you for your comment. Would you be able to contact me at [email protected]?

James Waldron
C+D Reporter

Andrew Blundell, Pharmaceutical Adviser

I have a named GP - I don't usually see him when I go, and I'm happy with that, so long as the GP I do see has access to my history, and is pleasant and competent.
The same happens in secondary care - often seen by an SHO rather than the named consultant registered to.
Why is it different for a pharmacist?


That's why there was a relief from the big four when the entry rules were closed....

Scared of competition.....!!!

Tim B, Locum pharmacist

A very predictable response from the big multiples. Perhaps if and when it occurs their pharmacists will treat them in the same that they have been treated latterly.
It must scare the pants off them!!

Martin Silver, Senior Management

It has been acceptable for patients to choose their medical professional since the inception of the NHS. For patients to have the care of a named pharmacist of their own choice will not reduce the patient's choice but ensure they are attended to by their chosen pharmacist.

Raju Patel, Community pharmacist

The Lloyds chief is obviously scared of this for commercial reasons rather than for patient care. Most Lloyds branches do not have the consistency of pharmacist employment to achieve continuity.

He fails to acknowledge the benefits that having a named pharmacist responsible for a patient throughout the care pathway would have on ensuring safe prescribing and medicines use.

Daniel Fox, Community pharmacist

Cannot agree more! That' exactly the point Raju. Having a named Pharmacist will still give patient the option to change their pharmacist if they want to, but in contrary to the argument of Lloyds Chief it will definitely increase the outcomes of patients!!. This Lloyds company is a joke!!!!!

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