RPS in Scotland responds to Programme for Government 2015-16

Today (1 September 2015) the Scottish Government announced its Programme for Government 2015-16.

In relation to Health policy that could impact on pharmacy, it outlined the following main commitments:

  • Begin the reform of primary and community care by testing new models of primary care over the coming year in at least 10 sites across urban and rural Scotland. Those sites will be in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife, Tayside, Forth Valley, Campbeltown, West Lochaber, Islay, Mid-Argyll, and Clackmannanshire. They will work with primary care providers to shape the future of primary and community care and during the next Parliamentary term they will roll out best practice across the whole of Scotland to transform and enhance the delivery of primary and community care services through Community Health Hubs.

  • Ensure that local community-based services to patients are delivered by the appropriate range of health and social care professionals working together more effectively. This will include investing our recently announced £60 million Primary Care Fund to transform primary care building on great examples across the country of providing care for patients at or near home rather than in hospital. This funding will also help to address immediate workload and recruitment issues through long-term, sustainable change.

  • Produce a new National Clinical Strategy for the NHS, following wide engagement with the health professions and patients’ representatives, to set out an overall vision for the development of clinical services over the next 15 to 20 years. It will present evidence of how the health service can be shaped to best support patients and how that change might be shaped at the national, regional and local level.

  • Continue to deploy our £100 million investment in mental health to improve child and adolescent mental health services, improve access to services and in particular psychological therapies and respond better to mental health needs in community and primary care settings.

  • Introduce the initiative ‘Our Voice’ to ensure that the views of service users are heard and responded to at every level of the health and social care system.

  • Introduce the next phase of our Alcohol Framework in 2016: it will build on the successes of our current Framework and have a clear aim to help tackle health inequalities.

  • Strengthen whistleblowing arrangements for NHSScotland staff by establishing an independent national officer to review the handling of whistleblowing cases.

Responding to the programme, Alex MacKinnon, Director of RPS in Scotland, said: “It is clear that the Scottish Government intends to build the future of primary care around ‘Community Health hubs’. We advocate that every hub would need a multidisciplinary leadership team to enable the skills of healthcare professionals to be fully utilised for the benefit of patients. Pharmacists must be an essential part of this team so that our profession’s expert knowledge in medicines and pharmaceutical care is provided routinely regardless of setting.”

You can find out more about RPS in Scotland's public affairs work on the Talking to Government webpages or by following @RPSScotland on Twitter. RPS members can also join the Your Voice in Government network.