Inverclyde Pharmacy First Service

Audrey Thompson, Lead Pharmacist for the Pharmacy First Inverclyde Project

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Audrey Thompson is the Lead Pharmacist for the Pharmacy First Inverclyde Project. Thanks Audrey for writing this piece for our website!

The Minor Ailment Service (MAS) was introduced through Scottish Community Pharmacies over ten years ago, and in that time has gone from strength to strength.

The service is excellent for patients, who can access a professional consultation in a community pharmacy. They will always receive appropriate advice, may have a medicine prescribed for them if suitable, and / or they may be referred on to another healthcare practitioner. Not all patients are eligible for MAS, only those patients previously exempt from prescription charges can access the service (roughly 60% of Scottish people) and it is limited to P and GSL Medicines.

We were really pleased when the Scottish Government announced plans to trial an expansion of the service as part of the New Ways of Working being trialled in the Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership area of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to manage the project. The first step was to set up a group of the people who could work together to make this happen. Our reference group has representatives from the Pharmacy and Prescribing Support Unit in NHSGGC, Community Pharmacy Scotland, Scottish Government and local representation from Inverclyde GPs, community pharmacists and prescribing support pharmacists. We are grateful for support and help from our colleagues in NHS Forth Valley who shared their Pharmacy First materials and lessons from implementation.

The deadline was tight – we started in October with a target to have the project up and running in January. Everyone was keen and willing to work quickly to pull everything together and I am proud to say that the project launched on time!

The project involves expanding the service to all patients registered with a GP in Inverclyde and accessing service from a community pharmacy in Inverclyde. We have been able to expand the conditions treated with use of Patient Group Directions which allow treatment of, for example, impetigo, shingles and uncomplicated urinary tract infections. This is a great opportunity for our community pharmacists to deliver pharmaceutical care to our patients with these conditions, while working closely with our other healthcare colleagues to reduce some of the pressures in our GP surgeries.

We are now waiting for the first data to show activity, but the anecdotal feedback has been good so far from staff in the pharmacies and the GP practices. We are also looking at how the work could expand to cover additional therapeutic areas. I will keep you posted on the progress with another Blog or two over the next year of the project, and the team at CPS will make sure information gets on to the CPS Website for you to access.

Best wishes


Audrey Thompson, Lead Pharmacist Controlled Drug Governance

PPSU, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde.