The Scottish government has pledged to make the minor ailment service available to every person in Scotland within the next year and extend it to cover more common conditions.

The promise, yet another show of support for community pharmacy north of the border following ministers’ decision to increase the sector’s 2018-19 funding by £2.6 million, is designed to get the public using pharmacies first for common ailments.

Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) said it was “too early to say what the details might look like” but insisted it would “be involved every step of the way.”

Its chairman Martin Green said: “We are delighted to welcome this announcement and look forward to working with Scottish government to explore and shape the evolution of the service over the coming year.

“We will be building upon our substantial efforts to demonstrate the value that community pharmacy teams add to Scotland’s health record and we intend to firmly cement the idea of the community pharmacy team as an essential part of the wider NHS and as trusted clinicians in people’s minds.”

The political situation in Scotland is in stark contrast to England where the government is pressing ahead with £320 million in cuts to community pharmacy’s budget.

Janice Oman, NPA Scotland’s representation manager, said: “The Community pharmacy minor ailment service has supported patients to receive NHS treatment and advice without using GP or A&E appointment time for over a decade.

“Improving access for the service to all patients with common clinical conditions and improving community pharmacy services available to those with stable long-term conditions demonstrates the Scottish government’s recognition of the clinical expertise of pharmacists and the unique accessibility of community pharmacies.

“We look forward to hearing more details of the new redesigned service and its benefits to patients.”