First of all, I want to congratulate Dundee City East MSP Shona Robison on her appointment as Health Secretary in the Scottish Government. I wish her well and have no doubt that she will relish the major challenges that lie ahead in terms of looking after the health needs of the Scottish population.
Tonight, I had a scan again over the Prescription For Excellence document that was published by the Scottish Government last year in September 2013. As a pharmacist, I can safely say that nearly all of us within the profession north of the border have been falling over ourselves over how radical the plans are to transform pharmaceutical care in our country. With The Right Medicine plan by the then Scottish Executive last decade, we inspired the world then and we must do so again.
But yet so few of us have even bothered to ask one of the key questions that I think should be raised more often in relation to the plans (I’m included in that many number of people who haven’t pressed hard enough as well) – why on earth is there absolutely no solid commitment to funding of the many new measures highlighted anywhere within the document?
I find it absolutely astonishing that the Scottish Government have not even provided an estimate of how much money they would be willing to put behind the plans for Prescription For Excellence to work. Whilst I believe the administration at Holyrood should be commended for wanting to keep Scotland in the lead and well ahead of the rest of the planet in pharmacy and pharmaceutical care, they really must start spelling out from now how much money they are willing to put behind the plans outlined.
Without investment, Prescription For Excellence will stall on the starting grid and that is something that is in nobody’s interests. We must remain number one worldwide for our profession and pharmaceutical care. Shona Robison has a responsibility to ensure that we stay top of the league and spell out in full how much money is coming in the direction of Prescription For Excellence in order for it to roar into another world class success story for our nation’s healthcare and for Scotland.