14/12/2012 - Audit Scotland backs pharmacy

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The RPS has welcomed a report from Audit Scotland that examined the way the NHS in Scotland is tackling health inequalities.  Scotland still suffers from major health inequalities even although successive Holyrood governments treating the issue as a priority. Despite improvements, differences between those from poorer and well-off backgrounds were still substantial. The report said strategies to tackle the problem had seen little impact. It also said that whilst GPs play a critical role in reducing inequalities, their distribution does not fully reflect the higher levels of ill health.  In contrast the report felt that pharmacies were deployed in a way that matched the needs of the communities most in need. The report calls for greater involvement of pharmacists in delivering public health care and also in using e-health systems more effectively to join up community pharmacies with GP practices.

Iain Brotchie, spokesperson for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland said:

“The RPS welcomes this report from Audit Scotland.  It shows that community pharmacies are well placed to meet Scotland’s health inequalities challenge.

“The Scottish Government recently consulted on a Review of NHS Pharmaceutical Care of Patients in the Community.  We are now awaiting the Scottish Government’s view on the next step for pharmacy with great interest.

“The RPS contributed to the consultation, and we underlined the need to empower pharmacists as their role expands in delivering patient care.  The RPS believes that this report from Audit Scotland reinforces our call for greater use of pharmacists’ professional skills in delivering public health and pharmaceutical care.

“It also suggests that the current Control of Entry system is working for new pharmacies as well.”

“The RPS has also been talking to the Scottish Government over the last two years to get pharmacists better access to health information. We’ve made progress in this area, under the new E-Health strategy, the SNP Government committed to giving pharmacists access to all relevant patient health information for them to do their job safely and effectively.  The RPS is pleased that the report from Audit Scotland underlines our argument for more effective information sharing. The Scottish Government gave responsibility for delivering the e-health strategy to Health Boards, however the RPS would welcome the Scottish Government making an update on the progress the Health Boards are making in this vital area for the pharmacy profession.”