Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) having a greater say in the future of the sector would be "entirely inappropriate", the Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) has said.
The PDA backed the Scottish government's decision to deny the contract negotiator a seat on the steering board set up to implement its 10-year vision for pharmacy. Greater CPS representation could mean the board was "overwhelmed" by the interests of the large multiples, PDA chair Mark Koziol told C+D on Thursday (June 19).
CPS responded that it represented all pharmacy owners in Scotland "irrespective of size".
CPS representation on the government steering board could have meant Scotland's pharmacy agenda was "taken over by a commercially powerful pharmacy owners lobby", says PDA chairman Mark Koziol
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The PDA last month wrote to the Scottish parliament's health and sport committee to ask for its own seat on the board if CPS were given one. This would ensure CPS's representation of contractors was "counterbalanced" by the views of individual pharmacists, Mr Koziol said.
In its letter to the committe the PDA said there was a "great danger" the professional agenda for pharmacy in Scotland could be "taken over by a commercially powerful pharmacy owners lobby" if CPS was granted a seat.
The Scottish government told C+D it would "not be appropriate" to grant the PDA membership of its steering board, as this was "primarily an internal government and NHS policy group".
Mr Koziol was "delighted" with the Scottish government's assurance that pharmacists would be represented on the board solely by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and the PDA could nominate a representative onto the reference group that would provide feedback on the government's plans for the sector.
"Other groups have also been asked to participate, which puts everyone on a level playing field. We are entirely satisfied with the result," he added.
CPS chief executive Harry McQuillan said it was "reassuring" to know the Scottish government was applying a "consistent policy" to its steering board, but stressed that CPS deserved representation on the board.
"CPS still maintains that, as the only body that has invested significant time, resource and staffing to delivering and further developing the Scottish NHS contract, the organisation merits representation at that level," he told C+D.
The steering board, which had its first meeting in April, includes representatives from the Royal College of General Practitioners as well as directors from across health and social care.
In its vision document, published last year, the Scottish government set out plans for all patients to be able to register with a named pharmacist. It would also develop national services for cardiovascular health, care of older people in care homes, alcohol and substance misuse, mental health, sexual health and children, it said.
Who do you think should have a greater say in implementing Scotland's 10-year vision for pharmacy?