RPS Pharma Scene #25 - Putting Pharmacy First in Scotland

With Laura Wilson, Nicola Middleton, and Matt Barclay

In this 25th episode of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Pharma Scene podcast, we're joined by Laura Wilson, RPS Director for Scotland, to talk about Pharmacy First with Nicola Middleton and Matt Barclay.

Nicola is a community pharmacist and prescriber from Bishopton, in Renfrewshire, Scotland, and Matt is Director of Operations at Community Pharmacy Scotland.

The Pharmacy First service lets patients use a community pharmacy as the first port of call for treatment. It's available from all pharmacies in Scotland that dispense NHS prescriptions, and doesn’t usually require an appointment.

Laura talks to Nicola and Matt about their experiences with Pharmacy First: how it works, how it started, and the future of the service.

Download a transcript of this podcast


About Laura

Photo of Laura Wilson

Laura Wilson went to Strathclyde University and did her pre-reg in community pharmacy.

Starting work at Crosshouse Hospital in Ayrshire, she then spent 14 years as a pharmacy manager for Morrisons in Kilmarnock. 

Laura was one of the first pharmacists to qualify as a prescriber, within her clinical area of psychiatry. After setting up prescribing clinics in mental health within an addiction service, she ran a clinic from the pharmacy consultation room.

She also became an RPS spokesperson, promoting the role of pharmacy in the media and at political conferences.

After moving to Addiction services within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, she led a project to change how pharmacies are paid for treating patients receiving opiate substitution therapy, leading to a more person-centred model. She was also seconded to Strathclyde University as a teacher practitioner for two years.

Laura is interested in drug misuse and addiction, mental health and education, and training. After taking the role of Policy and Practice Lead at RPS, one of the first policies she wrote was Improving care, reducing harm and preventing death in People Who Use Drugs: Pharmacy’s role

About Nicola

Photo of Nicola Middleton

Nicola graduated from Strathclyde University in 1998 and worked as a community pharmacist within a large multiple for over 20 years. She is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, and gained her independent prescribing qualification from Robert Gordon University in 2021.

Nicola now works in an independent pharmacy in her local community, and the Pharmacy First Plus service is just one of many offered to patients.

She passionately loves community pharmacy and takes much satisfaction at being able to provide advice and treatment promptly for her patients through National PGD’s, local health board initiatives and her independent prescribing.

About Matt

Photo of Matt BarclayMatt graduated in 1999 from Strathclyde University. After his pre-registration year, he worked as a community pharmacist for over ten years, gaining considerable experience in various localities. He also qualified as an independent prescriber in 2008 delivering hypertension services from his community pharmacy practice for patients.

His journey so far with CPS has taken him to the role of Director of Operations and deputy CEO. This is a great challenge and privilege to lead the dedicated team internally as they aim to deliver a robust, professional and sustainable community pharmacy support service for the pharmacy network. He also provides a policy and advocacy function on behalf of members and is a member of the CPS negotiating team.

Matt also still practices as a community pharmacist locum and is a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.