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by Clare Morrison, Royal Pharmaceutical Society Scotland
08 June 2021
Associate feature: Breaking down barriers in mental health care

Associate feature: Breaking down barriers in mental health care

Few people would disagree that mental health care should be improved. Yet across Scotland there are examples of excellent care: extending these would go a long way towards delivering those improvements.

Take the case of Ms A, a patient with post-traumatic stress disorder. When she presented, she was prescribed multiple medicines for the management of symptoms while she waited for psychology treatment.

So often, those medicines would have been continued for years. But following successful CBT, a specialist pharmacist stepped in.

Karen Macaskill, Principal Pharmacist at New Craigs Psychiatric Hospital in NHS Highland, arranged a consultation between the patient, psychologist and herself where she explained the advantages and disadvantages of continuing medicines.

Some had particular side effects, not least one which is likely to have contributed to the patient developing diabetes. At an earlier point, these medicines were essential but now the patient had the tools to cope, the balance was different.

With Ms A’s agreement, Karen formulated a plan to reduce the medication gradually which is safer than a sudden stop, and she referred Ms A to her local general practice pharmacist who provided support close to home.

The benefits of this approach are simple: shared decision making, joined up services across primary and secondary care, and appropriate timely care. But every one of them made a difference. 

At the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, we know pharmacy can contribute more to delivering improvements in mental health. We want patients to have access to specialist pharmacy services right across Scotland.

We want all patients prescribed a new medicine to be offered additional support from pharmacists.

We need all pharmacy teams trained in mental health first aid. And most importantly, we want pharmacists to have access to medical records so they can deliver safe, effective care as part of the integrated team.

Clare Morrison Director for Scotland, Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland.

This feature was sponsored by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland.



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