These commentaries by John Macgill represent his opinions only and not those of any Ettrickburn client.

Medicines shortage – a new prescription for an old problem

Ettrickburn commentary - Labour's plans to radically shake-up the pharma industry (part 2)

Ettrickburn commentary - Labour's plans to radically shake-up the pharma industry (part 1)

Cost of medicines falling

Three Nations Three Practices

Community Pharmacy Eliminating Hepatitis C

Homeless People make Glasgow

Heart Failure – we can get treatment right for everyone

Bundles of Safety

Community Pharmacy’s Leader in Scotland

CPO: On the Road to Achieving Excellence

Pharmacy technicians may become prescribers

Profile: Dr Norman Lannigan OBE

Profile: Jonathan Burton MBE

Profile: Clare Morrison MBE

Deep Dive Pharmacy

Mind the Gap - Diagnostic Skills for Pharamacists

Bundles of Safety

Supporting Excellence - Alison Strath Interview

2018 Pharmacy Forum Agenda Launched

Which Referendum to Choose

Three Perspectives on Pharmacy and Mental Health

Pharmacy and the New GP Contract

Bordering on Problematic

Recognised by the Queen and her community

VACANCY Reporter/Researcher: Health and Care Policy in Scotland

Prescribing in Mental Illness – A Practice Pharmacist’s Perspective

What Matters to You? Communication in Pharmacy

Prescribing in Mental Illness – A Patient’s Perspective

Focusing the Vision: Dr Rose Marie Parr on the new strategy for Scottish pharmacy

All the things that could go wrong - looking ahead to the SNP conference

Ask Once, Get Help Fast? Pharmacy and Mental Health

Automation and Delegation in Pharmacy: Understanding the Moving Parts

Pharmacy First in Forth Valley One Year On

Initiatives Highlight Potential of Community Pharmacy

Trying to concentrate on the day job

Health and the Local Elections – a strange silence

The Pharmacist Will See You Now – The Growth of GP Pharmacy

Montgomery’s Review – Dr Brian Montgomery answers questions on access to new medicines in Scotland

An afternoon with SMC

Pharmacists at SMC

SMC – are drug firms voting with their feet?

Radical Surgery on the Horizon for Scotland’s NHS

The Future’s Bright – in General Practice

Community Pharmacy in a Changing Environment

Disclosing payments to doctors – has Sir Malcolm done the pharma industry a favour?

Health and Care in the First Minister’s Programme for Government

CMO: Scotland’s pharmacists “absolutely ideally placed” to practice Realistic Medicine

Profile: Maree Todd – MSP and Pharmacist

Scottish Parliament Health Committee Work Programme

Scotland’s new NHS – a Summer of Speculation

Scotland’s New Health Committee

Two million voices in Scotland – is integration the big opportunity to listen?

Medicines – levelling the playing field

Key appointment raises the bar for health & social care partnerships

What did our new MSPs do before?

SMC says no then NICE says yes – three times

SNP promises single formulary and a review of Scotland’s NHS

More Generous than the CDF – but less transparent

Comparison of Funds: New Medicines v Cancer Drugs

Bonfire of the Boards? SNP signals NHS Review

A tribute to five retiring MSPs

New Medicines Review - Health Committee sends findings to Government

Medicines New & Old in the Scottish Cancer Strategy

Great Ambitions, Slow Progress – New Models of Care in Scotland

Scottish Minsters Demand Up-Front Medicine Price Negotiation

Opportunity and Disappointment: MSPs Investigate New Medicines Access

Scottish NHS Strategy calls for 'Realistic Medicine'

The Scottish Model of Value for Medicines: Taking Everything into Consideration

When SMC Says No: An Access to Medicines Lottery

Reviewing the Review: Access to New Medicines in Scotland

A day of psephology and kidology

Insulting the Lifesavers

Worthy of Mention – Health and Science in the Honours List

News Silence from North of the Border

A Christmas PPRS Present from Pharma

Monday, January 22, 2018: VACANCY Reporter/Researcher: Health and Care Policy in Scotland

Home Based in Scotland    

Closing date: Friday 16 February

Salary negotiable depending on experience and agreed working hours



Health communications consultancy Ettrickburn Limited is expanding its operations with the launch of a health and care news and information service for Scotland.

We are now looking for a reporter/researcher to help make this important venture a success, while also supporting information gathering for the consultancy.

Launching in the spring, our website and news app will be important channels for those working in health and care, for policy and decision-makers, patients and taxpayers, to see both the local and national picture through reading our news stories, features, interviews and briefings.


The job

You will be working as part of a small team led by an experienced journalist who will be the editor of the news service.

The reporter part of the role, which will represent roughly 2/3 of your duties (if you are working full time), will involve researching and publishing a selection of news stories and features every day, Monday to Friday, and maintaining a news planning dairy.

The researcher part of the role, which will represent roughly one third of the role (if full time), will involve activities that include compiling weekly policy updates, and maintaining a detailed database and library of publications by health and social care bodies.


Hours, terms and conditions

Our main interest is in getting the right person or people to fulfil this combined role: we are more interested in getting the right person or people to work with us. We are flexible in our approach and will be happy to offer this as a full or part-time post, as a job share, and/or throughout the year or just during the Scottish Parliament terms to candidate(s) who can provide the right mix of skills.

You will be home based with some travel within Scotland, including one face to face team meeting per month. This is a permanent position on satisfactory completion of a six month probationary period.


The person

Personal Attributes:

  • a calm, honest and un-biased communicator
  • excellent interpersonal skills and manner

Essential Skills and Attributes:

  • demonstrable skills and experience as a writer/reporter
  • ability to manage your workload, operating autonomously but knowing when to seek support and a second opinion
  • understanding of NHSScotland, the Scottish Government and Parliament, Scottish local government and social care policy
  • attention to detail and accurate written English
  • written and verbal presentation skills, including the ability to identify key facts for inclusion in summary documents
  • proficiency in Microsoft office programmes


  • detailed knowledge of health and care policy in Scotland
  • understanding of Scots law, legislation on privacy, data protection and defamation


  • website publishing and content management experience


We will provide

  • IT equipment (unless you prefer to use your own)
  • Mileage and agreed expenses
  • A monthly contribution towards the cost of your broadband and mobile phone
  • Career support, supervision and feedback
  • Training as required, which is likely to be in a ratio of 70% in-house mentoring; 20% experiential (for instance working alongside people with particular skills) and 10% formal training courses.


How to apply

Please send an email by the end of Friday 16 February with

i) your CV,

ii) two examples of your work, and

iii) a covering letter


Your letter should be no longer than one page of A4 explaining why this job is for you.

In your email, tell us whether you want to work full-time or, if not, what working pattern you would like to adopt. Also tell us how much you think we should be paying you based on your skills and experience.

We will contact all applicants within one week of the closing date.