A three year project which piloted the role of a full time Macmillan Rural Palliative Care Pharmacist Practitioner in the Skye, Kyle and Lochalsh area has been praised in its final evaluation.

The aim of the project, which started in February 2013, looked at the development of new models for rural areas in particular improving the link between primary and secondary care services in order to improve pharmacy care for palliative patients.

A number of strands were looked at including developing community pharmacy capacity to effectively, efficiently and safely support the needs of those in the rural community with cancer and palliative care needs regardless of where they were being cared for; and improving service provision and coordination while ensuring there was training and peer support.

Alison MacRobbie, project lead, has hailed the project as a great success with tools that were developed during this pilot now being used regularly in community pharmacy settings.

She said: “A number of lessons were learned over the course of this project which have been taken forward.
“Community pharmacists in the Skye, Kyle and area now have an accepted place within GP practice multi-disciplinary meetings. The project has demonstrated the positive outcomes of this way of working and we are actively promoting similar models across other areas.

“Community based staff, patients and carers now also have better access to quality advice around the use of medicines for palliative care.”

Other work that will be taken forward on a wider scale include educational elements being added to Macmillan training programmes and some of these have been incorporated into on-line NHS Education for Scotland palliative care education due to be launched in November 2016.

Alison added: “This project demonstrates that we can provide this high quality service in a remote and rural community and, even though the project has now ended, that remains a firm commitment and learning is already been widely shared across the area.

“My thanks to everyone for their support with this project in particular to Macmillan Cancer Support for their support and to Boots UK Ltd for their partnership working which was very much appreciated.”