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Scottish GPs to hand drug monitoring to pharmacists in new trial

Scottish GPs will be handing over the responsibility to ensure accurate and consistent medication monitoring for some patients under a new scheme to be piloted across three health boards.

The Scottish Patient Safety Programme in Primary Care will see pharmacists take charge of monitoring medications for patients after they have been discharged from hospital or when a patient is prescribed a high-risk medicine, such as warfarin.

Each locality will recruit a pharmacy clinical lead, eight pharmacy teams, an acute sector team and two GP practices to test new tools and interventions as part of the programme.

The pilot, which is funded via a £450,000 charitable donation from the Health Foundation, will run over the next two years, covering both rural and urban GP practices, before being evaluated by NHS Education for Scotland and the University of Strathclyde to see if it can be rolled out nationally.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland, which is running the scheme, said that up to 5% of prescriptions contain an error, and the role pharmacists could play in reducing these mistakes is under-utilised at present.

The project lead for the safety programme, Jill Gillies, said: ‘The overall ambition for this improvement collaborative is to reduce harm to patients in any primary care setting. We hope the programme will eventually spread out nationally.’