First anniversary of palliative care pharmacy service

A specialist pallative care pharmacist service in Skye and Lochalsh has marked its first anniversary.

The first of its kind in rural Scotland, the cross-sector initiative was established by Boots, Macmillan Cancer Support and NHS Highland to provide access to a specially-trained pharmacist, Gill Harrington, who is based at the Boots store in Portree.

As Macmillan’s palliative care rural pharmacist practitioner, Mrs Harrington visits patients in their own homes, care homes or hospitals, offering expert advice on medicine use and other services to support individuals and their families.

In addition, a new drop-in clinic started last September offering patients and carers  advice and information and allowing treatment in the community, thereby reducing the need for hospital admissions.

To mark the first anniversary of the service, Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP Dave Thompson visited Portree to find out more about the care on offer. He said: “Having a healthcare system that is able to work together to meet the needs of the local community is vital, especially so in an area as rural as Skye where local access is very important.

“Meeting Gill and the rest of the team gave me a real insight into this fantastic partnership, which is supporting patients and families through what is a very traumatic time.”

Mrs Harrington commented: “I’ve been delighted to take on the role of providing this service which has made such a difference to the lives of patients and families within the local community.
“Having the ability to travel to visit patients in their own homes and to build close relationships with those we are caring for really helps me to understand individual needs and offer advice that can assist in treating the physical and emotional aspects of palliative care.”

Pictured (left to right) are store manager Maryanne Malicki; Alison MacRobbie, Macmillan Palliative and Community Care pharmacist; Dave Thomson MSP; Fiona MacFarlane, healthcare and development manager; Macmillan Palliative Care rural practitioner pharmacist Gill Harrington; and Portree pharmacist Macolm Mathieson.