12 December 2018
North East Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald today welcomed a commitment by the Scottish Government to amend legislation and allow community pharmacies to deliver vaccinations on the NHS, and called for changes to be made to the legislation as soon as possible.
Currently, under the National Health Service (Scotland) Act of 1978, health boards are only permitted to make arrangements with GPs to provide vaccinations.
However, in an answer to a recent Parliamentary Question, Joe FitzPatrick MSP, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, committed the Scottish Government to changing the relevant section of the Act “in the first available legislative vehicle”.
Lewis said :
“It is welcome news that the Scottish Government has committed to updating a forty-year-old piece of legislation to take into account the changes in healthcare provision which have occurred over that time.
“Community pharmacies are more than capable of providing NHS vaccinations, and it is only this piece of legislation which currently prevents that from happening.
“Sadly, this means that too many people are missing out on much-needed flu jabs and other vaccinations, simply because they are unable to get an appointment at busy GP surgeries.
“I would urge the Scottish Government to ensure that the relevant legislative changes are made as soon as possible, allowing community pharmacies to provide a much-needed service to their communities.”
Martin Green, Chairman of the Board at Community Pharmacy Scotland added:
“CPS is delighted with this response from Joe Fitzpatrick on behalf of the Scottish Government. We will continue to work closely with the Scottish Government and with NHS Health Boards and Health and Social Care Partnerships to establish how community pharmacy can be part of the delivery solution for NHS vaccination provision.
“This is a step towards improving peoples’ access to NHS vaccines, such as travel and flu jabs. At a time when the effects of winter flu are worsening year on year and placing greater strain on the NHS, this would seem an enabler to see the rates of immunisation rise across Scotland.
“Changing the NHS (Scotland) Act so that community pharmacies can provide NHS vaccinations would lead to easier access to travel and flu jabs for everyone.
“This is a positive development which recognises the role of community pharmacy in primary care.”