New Pharmacy Initiative is a Big Hit With Patients

A new initiative which offers free treatment for certain conditions without the need for a prescription has proved to be very popular with local people across Forth Valley.

The scheme, which was launched in March 2016, enables all 76 local pharmacies to provide a short course of antibiotics for urine infections and a treatment for impetigo, a common skin infection with causes blisters and sores.

Over the last year, over 3,500* people have benefited from the scheme. The majority of consultations were for urinary tract infections (79%) followed by impetigo (12%) and the remainder benefited from an existing scheme which enables pharmacists to prescribe treatment for patients with COPD – a common respiratory condition.

The move to make treatment for UTIs and impetigo available in local pharmacies was made after analysis showed that these were two very common conditions seen by local GPs.

NHS Forth Valley’s Acting Pharmacy Director Scott Hill said: “We are really pleased that the scheme has been successful as, it not only helps takes pressure off busy GP services, but also makes it easier for people to access treatment as many pharmacies are open six days a week. Those based in supermarkets are also often open in the evenings and on Sundays.”

Due to the success of the scheme, there are now plans to extend it to cover other conditions including conjunctivitis, nail infections and infected insect bites and work is underway with local pharmacists to finalise plans over the next few months.

Harry McQuillan, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy Scotland, said: “This is an excellent example of how community pharmacists can play a key role in supporting patient care and treatment by being the first post of call for many common illnesses and conditions.”

The scheme in NHS Forth Valley is part of the national Pharmacy First initiative which aims to make better use of pharmacy skills and widen the range of services available in local pharmacies across Scotland. Since it was introduced in NHS Forth Valley several other Health Boards have expressed an interest in offering similar services.

*The Falkirk locality, which has 34 pharmacies, accounted for 51% of attendances, the Stirling locality, which has 29 pharmacies, accounted for 37% of attendances and Stirling and the Clackmannanshire locality, which has 13 pharmacies, accounted for the remaining 12% of attendances.


Symptoms of Urinary Tract or Bladder Infections

Burning or stinging sensation on passing urine

Needing to pass urine frequently

Needing to pass urine urgently

Passing excessive or larger quantities of urine

Blood in urine

Tenderness above pubic bone

Patients who are assessed by the community pharmacist as appropriate for treatment for a urine infection will be prescribed Trimethoprim 200mg tablets, 1 twice a day for 3 days.


Red sores which burst leaving behind golden crusts/scabs

Usually occur around the nose and mouth

More common in young children

Fluid filled blisters which burst leaving behind golden crust/scab

Patients who are assessed by the community pharmacist as appropriate for treatment for Impetigo will be prescribed Fusidic Acid 2% cream with the directions to apply four times daily for 7 days.