Scotland’s NHS Pharmacy First service formally launches on July 29, after its original due date of April 22 was moved due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Contractors will continue to receive the £2,000 a month transitionary payment put in place on April 1 until September 30, after which the amount will be replaced with a base payment of £1,250 a month, chief pharmaceutical officer Rose Marie Parr said in a letter to contractors last week (July 1).
The transitionary payment was implemented “as an interim arrangement in light of COVID-19 disruption to NHS Pharmacy First Scotland’s planned launch”, Dr Parr added in her letter – which also included the service specifications.
Under the Pharmacy First service, which replaces Scotland’s minor ailments service, pharmacists will offer free advice, treatment or supply of medicines – supported by national patient group directions – to patients presenting with urinary tract infections) and impetigo.
The letter sent to contractors by Dr Parr outlines in detail a list of eligible products for each ailment, developed in partnership with representatives of Scotland’s 14 health boards.
“Only items included on this list will be reimbursed if supplied following a consultation,” the service specification stipulates.
Anyone “registered on a permanent basis” with a GP practice in Scotland is eligible for the service.
Visitors to Scotland are not eligible for the service, unless they are seeking asylum, are registered with the Defence Medical Services, or part of a traveller community who considers travelling to be “part of their ethnic identity”.
However, the specifications are subject to change, chief executive of Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) Harry McQuillan said in a youtube video with an update on the service last week (July 2).
“Based on the feedback we’ve been receiving over the last couple of days, there’s a lot of you who have already had a look at the approved list,” Mr McQuillan said, but encouraged contractors who haven’t yet looked at the list to do so.
Although the list of approved products “is for the Scottish government to decide on”, this is after feedback from NHS boards and from CPS, who will “advocate on your behalf”, he added.