1. In October 2011, the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy announced a review of NHS Pharmaceutical Care of Patients in the Community. We were privileged to be invited to undertake that review. Our remit and terms of reference are detailed in Annex A.
2. We decided to approach our task by focusing primarily on the needs of patients and how pharmaceutical care can best contribute to the ambitions set out in the Healthcare Quality Strategy for Scotland1 that is care which is person-centred, safe and effective. Our work has involved extensive discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, supported by a detailed online survey questionnaire to which we received over a hundred responses, many of them providing a wealth of information (see Annex B). We concluded our evidence gathering by convening a stakeholder conference at which we explored a range of issues which had emerged from our discussions and the questionnaire.
3. Although we heard a few concerns about the need for a review, there was general consensus that it was appropriate and timeous to give renewed consideration to what might be needed to optimise the role of pharmaceutical care in delivering the Scottish Government's 20:20 Vision of healthcare2 . We were equally concerned to ensure that this built on the substantial progress which has been made since the publication in 2002 of The Right Medicine3 and its subsequent implementation.
4. We have considered carefully the nature of our report. While much of what we heard was consistent in describing what was needed to build on what had already been achieved and to develop for the future, we recognised that there might be different approaches to how developments might best be delivered. We focus more on the "what" than the "how", although there are examples of the latter where we believe it is important to be more specific. While we have highlighted specific recommendations and propositions in bold text, we would wish the report to be read as a whole containing a co-ordinated approach for the future. The report is also not intended as a piece of academic research; it is, however, based on evidence, both published and from what we know, and what others have shown, to work. We recognise the (sometimes world) leading edge developments that have taken place in the range and quality of pharmacy services in Scotland and how those continue to evolve. We also acknowledge what we were told about current frustrations and impediments to progress but believe strongly that these can be overcome. There is now a unique opportunity to turn the ambitions of the public, patients and professionals into reality by creating a truly effective system of pharmaceutical care which will continue to make Scotland the envy of others.
Email: Elaine Muirhead