Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) has called for pharmacists to have a greater role in vaccination programmes in the nation in a manifesto ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections in May.

The manifesto, which sets out the CPS’s requests for the next Government, has asked for a national conversation and agreement on community pharmacy’s role in the vaccination programmes.

Currently, Scotland’s vaccination planning sits within local partnerships and the 2020-21 winter was the first time community pharmacy teams were able to be part of the NHS’s flu vaccination effort.

The manifesto states that the CPS ‘firmly believe’ community pharmacy could help deliver Covid, flu, pneumonia and travel vaccinations, as well as childhood immunisations.

The CPS manifesto said: ‘We firmly believe that community pharmacies could deliver a significant contribution to achieving vaccine uptake and related immunity targets across a range of programmes.’

It added: ’Our ask is for a national discussion and agreement on community pharmacy’s place in key vaccination programmes. We anticipate that this will maximise efficiency and equity of access across the health and social care system.’

Increased funding

The manifesto also called for extra funding to increase the number of pharmacist independent prescribers in Scotland.

The number of independent prescribers is currently 100, according to the CPS, however the organisation’s ambition is to have one in each pharmacy in Scotland (1,258) by 2030.

For this to happen, the CPS has asked that the number of funded training places for this role be doubled, and for further investment for training and service delivery each year.

CPS has also asked for increased funding in digital innovation within community pharmacy.

The manifesto states that community pharmacy is ‘often forgotten’ within the wider eHealth infrastructure, and has asked the Government to prioritise this investment in out of hours care, consistent access to records, primary care recording systems and electronic referral pathways.

Sexual health role

The document also called for a bigger role for community pharmacy in sexual health provision throughout Scotland after the ‘success’ of the emergency hormonal contraception service.

The manifesto states there were almost 100,000 emergency hormonal contraception supplies delivered through community pharmacy in Scotland, which equates to four out of five supplies given.

The document says: ‘We are delighted to share that there are plans in motion to develop this service further to provide “bridging” contraceptive supplies to women struggling to gain timely access to other services. Our ask in this area is that community pharmacy is adequately resourced to explore an even bigger role in sexual health - perhaps even becoming the first port of call for regular contraception.’

Matt Barclay, director of operations for CPS, said: ‘CPS are delighted to launch our manifesto today ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections. The pharmacy network have been outstanding in their delivery in the past year and, in many ways, have done the talking for us through their actions.

‘We believe this manifesto recognises that, in that it largely echoes policy direction already in motion through Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical Care and our own vision. The emphasis should be to continue to support, resource and enable community pharmacy to continue to deliver great care for the people we serve in the areas identified within the manifesto.’