Scottish health chief says pharmacists are in midst of greatest public health crisis in history

15 Jul 2020

Scotland’s high profile National Clinical Director of Healthcare Quality & Improvement has praised pharmacists for reaching out to vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic, but told them, “your work is not done”.

Sharing latest virus statistics at the National Pharmacy Association’s online conference this week, Professor Jason Leitch warned that a second peak is possible in the winter.

He said: “This (COVID-19) is like nothing the world has ever seen.  Just because the pubs are open, it doesn’t change the fact that this is still the greatest public health crisis in recent history.  It isn’t going to go away any time soon – so your work is not done.”

He continued: “There could well be a second peak this winter, when there’s indoor living and central heating and all the things that viruses love.”

Professor Leitch is a regular feature of the Scottish Government COVID-19 briefings alongside First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

He praised local pharmacies for reaching out to vulnerable people to offer help during the pandemic, including his own parents. “My parents are 79, they’re not shielding but they are in a vulnerable group. They’re perfectly independent and capable, but their local pharmacy still reached out to them to make sure they had their drugs and medicines they needed.  Their local pharmacy reached out and said, ‘look, how can we help you?’ right at the beginning of the lockdown.”

National Pharmacy Association (NPA) board member for Scotland, Phil Galt, said:

“The statistics Jason presented were a stark reminder – if any was needed – that we are not through this crisis yet.  Everyone must continue to be vigilant and pharmacy teams know they still have a vital role on the NHS frontline in confronting the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The NPA conference continues.  Go to www.npa.co.uk/conference-2020/ to register free of charge.