The current head of operations at Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS), Matt Barclay, is set to become its next chief executive from February next year.

This comes as current chief executive Harry McQuillan steps down from his post after more than 17 years in post.

Mr Barclay has worked as a community pharmacist for over 10 years across Scotland and still works regularly as a locum, and is qualified as an independent prescriber to deliver hypertension services.

He has also served as a community pharmacy practitioner champion and on various committees including Pharmacy Practices, area drug and therapeutics committee (ADTC) and a local Primary Care Prescribing Group.

CPS had been planning for the appointment over the last two years and has been delivering a bespoke competency-based development programme over that period.

And last month, the CPS board unanimously recommended the appointment of Mr Barclay to begin as chief executive from 1 February 2024.

Current chief executive Mr McQuillan said that he was ‘delighted’ about the appointment. ‘It has been a privilege to design and be part of this succession process,’ he said.

He added that he would remain ‘in the background for a period’ as an advisor to Mr Barclay and the CPS Board.

‘The timing is right for many reasons and allows Matt to fully establish himself in the CEO role, with experienced office bearers, before the next CPS election process begins in January 2025. I wish Matt all the best in his new role, and I am sure he will be a great success,’ Mr McQuillan added.

Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) welcomed Mr Barclay’s appointment and celebrated Mr McQuillan’s time in the role.

‘Over many years, Harry McQuillan has contributed greatly to the successful progression of community pharmacy in Scotland,’ he said in a statement.

‘Everyone, everywhere, can benefit from excellent healthcare and wellbeing services provided by their community pharmacy.’

He added: ‘We welcome the appointment of Matt Barclay as the chief executive officer of Community Pharmacy Scotland.

‘We look forward to continuing to support the pragmatic and progressive evolution of community pharmacy, and to address the priorities of patients and the NHS, across Scotland.’

Mr McQuillan recently outlined his vision for ‘Community Pharmacy in the 21st Century NHS’ at an event jointly organised by University College London School of Pharmacy, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and National Pharmacy Association.

He suggested that in addition to checking that dispensed medications accurately match the prescription, the profession should look towards a more holistic purpose of patient care.