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

Tuesday, September 6, 2016: Health and Care in the First Minister’s Programme for Government

In many respects the First Minister’s speech announcing the new programme for the Scottish Government was a restatement of the manifesto promises on which the Scottish National Party was elected just a few months ago.

The commitment remains to increasing the money available for the day to day running of the NHS by £500 million more than inflation over the period of this parliament, and to invest £150 million to back a new mental health strategy, on which the government is consulting with a view to publishing it by this time next year.

The First Minister signalled that the post-Brexit extra stimulus spending she has already announced means that it can now be full steam ahead with the promised expansion of the Golden Jubilee hospital at Clydebank and the building of the five new elective and diagnostic treatment centres: promised in the manifesto for Edinburgh, Livingston, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.

The biggest cost in running the NHS and the health and social care partnerships is paying people. Ms Sturgeon told MSPs that the Government is committed to building on the record number of staff working in the NHS by training more nurses, doctors, paramedics and community link workers. A new National Workforce Plan is promised imminently, followed by legislation “to enshrine safe staffing levels in law”.

Indeed, the biggest budget impact from today’s announcement may well be in meeting the promise that all adult social care workers will now be paid the ‘real living wage’. While nobody could argue with the need to reward carers generously, funding any pay increase is challenging – not just affecting those organisations that are commissioned to provide services for the health and social care partnerships, but also those who need to compete with them for staff.

The First Minister’s statement to Parliament repeated the Scottish Government’s commitment to investing in transforming primary care: “helping GPs to work in multi-disciplinary teams with allied healthcare professionals such as pharmacists, community nurses and social workers”.

Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government will be transferring at least £250 million each year from the NHS to the integrated health and social care partnerships “to build the capacity and resilience of our social care services”.

What was not in the First Minister’s Programme for Government was any update on the manifesto pledge to review the governance and structure of the NHS in Scotland. Medicines, formularies and the New Medicines Fund were also not mentioned, perhaps so as not to prejudge Dr Montgomery’s current review of the processes that Scotland uses to assess new medicines for use in Scotland’s NHS.