1 Executive Summary
1.1 Since 2008 five NHS Health Boards have piloted approaches to delivering a wider range of walk-in health and health improvement services within a community pharmacy setting. The pilot programme - known as Pharmore+ - aimed to increase the flexibility and availability of primary care services and complement other local healthcare services such as those provided by GP practices and local A&E departments.
1.2 A study of the pilots was conducted by the Scottish Government Health Analytical Services in spring 2012 with a view to drawing out key lessons for future development of community pharmacy based walk-in services.
1.3 The main findings from the study were:
- Pilots demonstrated they were able to offer a wider range of health and health improvement services on a walk-in basis.
- Pilots also demonstrated the potential for pharmacy to contribute as part of the wider health services; complementing existing services and expanding access to services to a wider range of people and providing greater patient choice.
- A number of pilots demonstrated that there was reduced demand on other services such as A&E.
- Pilots faced a number of challenges including; ensuring the right equipment and facilities were available to deliver services; establishing workable information sharing systems; and the recruitment and training of staff to deliver the services.
1.4 Although each pilot developed different service models, there were common issues raised which require consideration for the future development of community pharmacy services:
- Pharmacies need to make better use of the existing skills and expertise of team members and provide ongoing training and support to provide enhanced services.
- Any development needs to see the patient as the starting point: with the emphasis on quality and patient choice. Pharmacy development of generalist and specialist services needs to focus on patient outcomes and generate evidence of impact on these.
- There is no one model of walk-in pharmacy services which should be implemented nationally; rather community pharmacy services should be developed in context of local health care priorities and circumstances, building on common principles around access, choice and quality.
- The potential for community pharmacy to contribute to these common principles and address local priorities should be seen in context of other wider health services locally. In essence, pharmacy services should be developed in collaboration with and complementary to these services rather than in isolation.
1.5 The findings from the study indicate that there is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach to implementing models of walk-in services or expanding the services provided by community pharmacy more generally. Instead, the services offered by the pilots in each area were determined by practical considerations (equipment, space and facilities available), willingness of local NHS and other services to collaborate and in consideration of local service needs. However all were based on common principles, such as better choice and access to appropriate treatment. It is these principles which should underpin any national policy on the future development of community pharmacy and local service redesign rather recommending a particular model for community pharmacy based walk-in services.
Email: Victoria Milne