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New pharmacy service is first of a kind in UK

January 21, 2014 3:31 PM

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People living in the Glasgow and Clyde area can now benefit from an innovative new service, co-ordinated from their local pharmacy – the first of its kind in the UK.

Following a successful pilot in four local areas, which was funded by Macmillan Cancer Support, the charity has teamed up with Scotland’s largest health board, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) to roll out the new Macmillan Pharmacy Service.

The new service will work alongside the existing Community Pharmacy Palliative Care Network and other community care staff to provide patients and their carers with improved access to pharmaceutical palliative care in their local communities. This service, co-ordinated through local pharmacies, will help support palliative care patients (those with life-limiting or life-threatening illness) at their most vulnerable time. It will also support patients, should they choose, to die peacefully at home rather than spending their final days in hospital.

Ten new Macmillan pharmacy facilitators will work with existing community pharmacies and other community care staff to:

• Increase awareness of the palliative care service provided by network pharmacies and help improve access to palliative care medication including out-of-hours

• Improve the way palliative care services are provided through improved support for all community pharmacies

• Deliver palliative care training to support staff in all community pharmacies

• Offer the training programme to GP practice managers and receptionists

• Improve care by promoting appropriate prescribing and dispensing of palliative medicines

• Incorporate palliative care needs assessments and anticipatory care into pharmaceutical care planning

• Further develop information resources to enable patients and carers to access  medication and palliative care advice from their community pharmacy

• Strengthen communication strategies within pharmacy services and across other healthcare providers such as GP staff
Paul Adams, Head of Primary Care and Community Services in North West Glasgow and Chairman of the Macmillan Pharmacy Steering Group said: “We know from experience that many people want to spend their final days at home rather than in hospital. To facilitate this, our new service will provide community staff with improved resources to help support and manage a patient’s illness at home and possibly lower the need for a hospital admission.

“This service, which aims to maximise the pharmaceutical care of patients with life-limiting illness, was developed jointly by NHSGGC and Macmillan Cancer Support with assistance from the University of Strathclyde. The service model was based on evidence gained from a three year project which is now being recognised in other parts of the country.”

One pharmacy which took part in the pilot is Woodside Pharmacy in the North West of Glasgow. Suzanne Hughes, has been a pharmacist for 13 years and has found the help and information provided by this new service invaluable. She commented: “We have found that being part of this pilot has greatly improved our knowledge on palliative care.”

“The Macmillan facilitator has given us various information resources which we use to provide better care for our patients – whether it is to encourage patients on how to get the best out of their medications or to advise our GP colleagues on new medicines.

“I am positive that this is a truly patient-centred service that provides us with the tools to help our patients at an extremely difficult time.”

Patricia Daniel, Macmillan Development Manager said: “Macmillan believes that those with a with life-limiting illness should be able to choose their place of care during life and death. We know that more than half of people who have a cancer diagnosis would like to spend their last weeks and days of their life at home and, working with the Community Pharmacy Palliative Care Network, this service will ensure that they can.”


For more information contact the press office, telephone:  0141 201 4429 or email:  [email protected]

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Last Updated: 11 November 2021