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The Scottish government has released guidance for the treatment of minor eye conditions in community pharmacies.

The latest update provides guidance to both community optometry and community pharmacy teams for the assessment and treatment of minor eye conditions under the NHS Pharmacy First Scotland (NHS PFS) service.

According to the guidance, if an optometrist concludes that a patient requires treatment for a minor eye condition, he or she could refer the patient to a pharmacy rather than their GP practice, to obtain a necessary medication.

In such cases, the optometrist can use the necessary form attached to the guidance to request that a supply is made through NHS PFS.

This ensures patients can access the most appropriate service to meet their individual needs in timely manner.

As before with the Minor Ailment Service (MAS), the optometrist’s clinical assessment would be utilised prior to a supply being made and the responsibility for the choice of product based on examination remains with the referring optometrist, the guidance has said.

“Patients who present in the first instance to a pharmacy and do not, in the pharmacist’s opinion, need to go directly to hospital should be directed to a local optometry practice for an eye examination using the same form,” the guidance has said.

“It is good practice that the referring pharmacy contacts the optometry practice by telephone, whilst the patient is still in the pharmacy to confirm availability of an appointment, thus providing a better patient experience. However, this may not always be possible,” it added.

At all times it is essential that patient has a clear understanding of their journey between optometry and pharmacy to ensure this is efficient and safe, whilst allowing the respective healthcare professionals to manage their workloads, the guidance stated.

“After the first supply, the patient should be reviewed by an optometrist to assess the need for ongoing treatment. At this point, a further supply could be made by the pharmacy (to ensure continuity of treatment) and a request submitted by the optometrist to the GP to add the item to the patient’s repeat prescription. The route of obtaining further supplies should be made clear to the patient at this point,” the guidance has said.

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