Lothian MSP, Neil Findlay, was needled by health campaigners this week – but it was all in the cause of learning first-hand how our local pharmacies can help deliver a vital health service to the public more effectively.
Unlike in England, highly qualified pharmacists are unable to administer flu vaccinations for the NHS – despite being well able to do so.
And, in the view of Community Pharmacy Scotland, that means that Scotland’s hard-pressed GP services are coming under ever-greater pressure in their battle to balance a whole range of services.
The pharmacists maintain that allowing them to help administer the flu jabs would help significantly in getting much closer to target levels amongst the most vulnerable populations who qualify for the vaccination, such as the elderly, pregnant women and people with specific conditions.
This has prompted Community Pharmacy Scotland clinicians to take to the Scottish Parliament to show MSPs first-hand just how easily they could help, using a dummy medical arm just in case nervous politicians found their aim was off.
Neil Findlay MSP said:“Every winter, the flu epidemic hits GP services hard. Allowing qualified pharmacists to provide the flu jab will not only alleviate pressure from GP services, but it will also encourage more people to receive the vaccination. I support calls from Community Pharmacy Scotland to change the law to ensure that Pharmacists are allowed to deliver this vaccination.”
Harry McQuillan CEO of Community Pharmacy Scotland said:“We need the required change in legislation to allow us to come into line with England, where pharmacists delivered 1.17 million flu vaccinations between September and January last winter.”