Health Secretary Jeane Freeman MSP has announced that community pharmacists across Scotland will perform an enhanced role during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Pharmacists will be able to support more patients, reducing the pressure on other parts of NHS Scotland through the extension of the Minor Ailment Service.
The SNP Government has also accelerated plans to expand access to Emergency Care Summary data, which mainly contains medication information. Health Boards have been asked to provide access to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working in communities.
More than a thousand community pharmacies provide a range of NHS Pharmaceutical Care services on behalf of NHS Scotland.
Ms Freeman said:
“The vital work of community pharmacies across Scotland is key to ensuring we continue to reduce the burden across the NHS and patients continue to get the necessary medicines they need to stay healthy.
“Many people visit a community pharmacy every day, with these numbers increasing in the current COVID-19 outbreak. This makes them the most accessible healthcare professionals on the front line of community health services and a valuable resource to NHS Scotland.
“Strengthening the role of pharmacists and easing some of the pressure from frontline NHS services, is therefore an important step in our wide ranging response to the current crisis.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
"Community pharmacy workers on the frontline of care provision during this crisis.
"They have to protect themselves as well as patients and put measures in place to ensure their many elderly and compromised customers don't huddle together and keep a safe distance from each other if they have to go to the pharmacy.
"I am aware that being asked to stay outside and wait while a prescription is being prepared may not always be pleasant or convenient, but in these times it is for your own safety and wellbeing.
"If able to phone in a repeat prescription then please do so. Please treat staff with kindness and understanding as they are doing their very best to cope with this stressful situation, putting themselves at risk every day."
NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information. Common symptoms of coronavirus include:
• High temperature or fever
• Shortness of breath
Call NHS 24 (on 111) if you think you have COVID-19 and need help or assistance.
For any other health related concerns, make NHS Inform your first point of contact or call your GP during opening hours. If your GP practice is closed and your query can’t wait you can still call NHS 24 (on 111).