The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has called on pharmacy contractors to report when they need to close for all or part of a day, after it received more than 50 reports of unscheduled closures in Scotland in a week.
It comes after the PDA launched an online tool for members in Scotland to report unscheduled closures. In its first week, the tool received over 50 reports of closures, with a mix of full and part day closures by a number of different contractors.
Pharmacy contractors are obligated to report closures to Health Boards in Scotland.
However, of those who reported the closures this week, less than 8% thought all temporary closures are reported to the local NHS Health Board, while less than 6% think the NHS monitors and manages this well.
The PDA said it was aware that NHS Tayside wrote to contractors in May and NHS Lothian wrote in July to remind contractors to report the closures.
It follows a parliamentary response in June from the Scottish Government health secretary, Hamza Yousef, to a question about the monitoring of pharmacy closures.
He said: ‘It is the responsibility of territorial Health Boards to ensure there is adequate provision of NHS Pharmaceutical Care Services, working with community pharmacy contractors listed on the Boards Pharmaceutical List.
‘The National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services) (Scotland) Regulations 2009 set out the responsibilities for community pharmacy contractors to notify Health Boards when there are instances in which the contractor is unable to provide those NHS services.’
It comes after the RPS in Scotland called for the Government and the pharmacy sector to work together to reduce drug harms in the country.