RPS in Scotland responds to Health & Sport Committee’s Preventative Agenda inquiries

The RPS in Scotland has published its responses to the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee’s Preventative Agenda inquiries into substance misuse and sexual health, blood borne viruses and HIV.

We would like to thank all the members and partner organisations who worked with us, sharing their views and experiences to shape our responses.

Andrew Radley, Consultant in Public Health Pharmacy, who worked closely with the RPS in Scotland on the Sexual Health, Blood Borne Viruses and HIV response, said: “Community pharmacies are based in each community within Scotland and have an unparalleled opportunity to deliver improvements in the health of the people they serve. There is increasing evidence that pharmacies can deliver services such as hepatitis C treatment, immunisations and contraceptive services to the people that can easily access and visit their local pharmacy”.

We have made recommendations for the committee to consider, including:

Sexual Health, Blood Borne Viruses and HIV

  • Community pharmacy is a feasible place to test and treat for Hepatitis C. Dried blood spot testing is easy to carry out and research has demonstrated substantial uptake in testing when this is available from community pharmacies
  • A national approach to vaccination programmes, with the required resourcing, to deliver and gain substantial public health advances
  • Resources should also be made available to implement long term national strategy to improve sexual health, reduce unwanted pregnancy further and prevent the spread of blood borne viruses
  • The model of community pharmacy clinics using pharmacist prescribers working with local sexual health clinics, providing a range of contraceptive services, including follow-up contraception as well as emergency hormonal contraception, should be rolled out nationally to take advantage of the accessibility that community pharmacies provide

Substance Misuse

  • The pharmacy profession has a significant role to play in delivering harm reduction strategies and we strongly support an enhanced role for the pharmacy profession in this aspect of prevention
  • It is essential that any refresh of the Road to Recovery (RtR) drug strategy aligns with the Scottish Government's national pharmacy strategy "Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical Care" to ensure that services and service users can benefit from advances in pharmaceutical care
  • Include local specialist pharmacists as core members of Alcohol and Drug Partnerships to help to fully involve the profession in an integrated approach

Further to our responses, our member Dr Carole Hunter (Lead Pharmacist, Addiction Services, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde) will give evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee on 30 January.

The meeting will start at 10am and can be followed live via the Scottish Parliament website.

Earlier in 2017, Dr Hunter wrote an article on our blog discussing the role of the pharmacists in the care of older drug users.