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The Minister kindly referred to the system in Scotland, which has been running for 10 years since we passed the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005. It took time to introduce the new system, but now all pharmacies in Scotland are community pharmacies, meaning that they all provide services. They do not get a big payment merely for existing—they receive a quite tiny £1,730—but they do get payments based on needs that reflect a population’s age, vulnerability and deprivation, so those things are taken into account in their global funding. That funding is due to go up 1.2% in Scotland while there is talk of a reduction of 4% here.
The services provided have been referred to as the minor ailment scheme. Many pharmacies in England make provision under that scheme, but it is not a national system. In Scotland, the scheme is national and such services must be provided. One issue is that the pharmacies have to invest. They have to build a consulting room and change their building so that people can be seen privately when their minor ailment is diagnosed. They work to protocol for a whole list of ailments that they can diagnose and have the ability to treat. The ailments are minor things that many people would experience, and the approach avoids their having to go a GP.