It is "highly unlikely" that new winter funding will reach pharmacies, Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) has said.
The Scottish government has earmarked £10.7 million to help health boards cope over the winter, it announced last week (September 25).
It suggested that this money should be used to support patients discharged from hospitals at weekends, but told C+D on Tuesday (September 29) that it is "up to individual health boards" to decide whether this will involve community pharmacies.
Each board needs to "identify what is feasible and offers the best level of resilience for their population”, the government said. "We have encouraged health boards to invest in measures that will “promote safe and effective discharge," it added.
CPS said it would welcome any money that "recognised and formalised" the sector's contribution to care for discharged patients. But CPS pharmacy services manager Matt Barclay warned that it is "highly unlikely that this short-term funding will support any development like this".
"A longer term solution"
Health boards should consider using pharmacists as a "longer term solution", by creating referral systems for discharged patients that make use of pharmacy medicines management expertise, Mr Barclay said. "The latter point is patchy at present."
NHS Fife told C+D that additional investment for the winter period will be "distributed according to need" but did not specify if any would go to community pharmacy.
Health secretary Shona Robison said the latest funding brings the government's total NHS winter spend to £55m and shows it is “committed to providing additional support to health boards”.
"With more people living with long-term conditions and a growing number of older people with complex needs, it is vital we have robust preventation care plans in place for winter," she added,