Community pharmacy hospital discharge service launched in Scotland

Community pharmacies in Scotland will provide a hospital discharge and medication reconciliation service as part of the government’s five-year stimulus plan for the NHS in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ‘NHS Recovery Plan’, released by the Scottish Government on August 25, 2021, aims to close the backlog of NHS care in Scotland between 2021 and 2026.

According to the planning document, the new service will be rolled out in the second year of the plan “to help speed up the discharge process”.

The launch of a community pharmacy hospital discharge service in Scotland follows the launch of a similar service in England in February 2021, in which pharmacists can compare drugs with which patients have recently been discharged from hospital with those taken before admission.

A community pharmacy hospital discharge service has also been operating in Wales since 2011.

The five-year plan also pledged to increase funding for the NHS Pharmacy First service from £ 7.5million in 2021/2022 to £ 10million the following year.

The additional 2.5 million pounds will be used “to enable community pharmacies to provide an even wider range of advice and treatment, avoiding unnecessary visits to the general practitioner and outside working hours,” said the plan.

NHS Pharmacy First was launched across Scotland in July 2020 to replace the Minor Ailments Department, initially allowing pharmacies to offer treatment for uncomplicated UTI and impetigo.

In June 2021, two new patient group referrals (PGDs) supporting the treatment of shingles and skin infections were added to the service.

Commenting on the NHS stimulus package, Adam Osprey, pharmacist in charge of policy and development at Community Pharmacy Scotland, said the additional £ 2.5million “has always been provided for under our current funding agreement on three years – this supports the growth of the use of the service as well as the addition of other conditions that can be addressed as part of the service through the DPI ”.

“At this point, key stakeholders are considering a number of avenues for the development of PGD that would have the greatest impact for patients in Scotland, in order to then create a work plan for regular deployment,” he said. he declares.

Commenting on the hospital discharge and medication reconciliation service, he said the new service was welcome.

“From our perspective, this will promote a smoother discharge from the hospital for patients, allowing them to return home or to a comfortable setting as soon as possible, with their local and familiar community pharmacy team taking charge of the disease. review and procurement of their medications.

“Formalizing the reconciliation of prescribed medications at the community pharmacy will deliver key safety improvements, ensuring that planned changes are detected, reviewed and discussed with the patient once they are settled home – we hope this will would have an impact on related unwanted drugs, ”he continued.

The latest data from NHS Pharmacy First showed community pharmacies made nearly 500,000 consultations through the service between January 2021 and March 2021, with funding requests amounting to more than £ 6million.

READ MORE: Making Vital Connections Between Hospital and Home

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