West Lothian Courier - - District News -

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.”

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