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

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

Initiatives Highlight Potential of Community Pharmacy

Pharmacy First in Forth Valley One Year On

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, July 11, 2016: Scottish Parliament Health Committee Work Programme

Holyrood’s Health and Sport Committee has published its work programme for 2016.[i]

Between now and the end of the year, MSPs have set themselves an ambitious programme of inquiries to start gathering evidence to investigate issues that the Committee says are “some of the most pressing and important in allowing our health care system to continue to deliver a world class service”.

The full list of eight inquiries is:

GPs and GP hubs[ii]

The inquiry will provide an introduction to the Government’s approach to primary care reform. It will consider difficulties in recruitment and the extent to which the proposed hub approach will assist in reducing demand on GPs. It will also identify how pharmacists and others will fit into the new hubs and how their contribution will be measured.

Delayed discharges[iii]

Delayed discharges affect a hospital patient who is clinically ready for discharge from inpatient hospital care but continues to occupy a hospital bed beyond the ready for medical discharge date. The Committee will be considering what the causes of delayed discharge are, if investment has made a difference and barriers and solutions to delayed discharge.

Social and community care workforce[iv]

The Committee will be asking if there is enough staff to fulfil the vision of a shift from hospital care to community care and how quality of care is ensured. It will also focus on pay and retention, including whether the living wage will be adequate to retain staff.


The prevalence of people overweight and obese in Scotland is high, and the underlying trend is increasing. The Committee is looking to increase understanding of the causes of obesity; financial cost; and how the targets associated with participation in physical activity and sport for adults are to be met.

Health and social care integration budgets[vi]

Budgets for Integrated Joint Boards for 2016-17 are expected to total over £9 billion provided by Health Boards and local authorities. The committee will consider how this system is operating in practice and whether Integrated Joint Boards are delivering on the reconfiguration of services.

Recruitment and retention[vii]

The Committee wants to gain an overview of recruitment and retention issues within the NHS workforce in Scotland including in rural and remote areas.


There are a large number of performance measures and frameworks used by the Scottish Government in relation to health. These are currently being reviewed by the Government and this session will allow the Committee to hear about progress and contribute to the review.

Mental health[ix]

Research indicates that 10% of children and young people (5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, disproportionately affecting persons from lower income households. The inquiry seeks to understand the barriers to accessing children’s mental health services and why significant variations in waiting times and accessing treatment continue to occur across Scotland. The inquiry will also look at the previous mental health strategy to identify both positive and negative impacts.



Background to inquiries:

[ii] GPs and GP Hubs

[iii] Delayed Discharge

[iv] Workforce

[v] Obesity

[vi] Integration budgets:

[vii] NHS Recruitment & Retention

[viii] Targets:

[ix] Mental Health