The problems of delivering pharmaceutical advice in rural areas have been acknowledged in the Scottish Government’s response to last year’s Inquiry into the supply and demand for medicines.
When asked to detail progress towards the 2021 deadline for all GP practices (either directly or through GP clusters) to include pharmacy staff, Scottish ministers admit that remote and rural Board areas have been identified as most at risk of not meeting the target. “This is due to practices being geographically distant from centres of population (some even requiring ferry transport to access). Regular cover for these types of practices is difficult to achieve. Significant improvements in GP IT are also required.”
The report also acknowledges plans to further develop the Medicines: Care and Review service to include an ongoing annual review of medication. The government says that use of serial prescribing is key in the NHS response to the current pandemic. A programme of work on rapid mobilisation and creating better links between community pharmacists and clinical pharmacists working in GP practice is also underway.