Unscheduled care can be described as “NHS care which cannot reasonably be foreseen or planned in advance of contact with the relevant healthcare professional, or is care which, unavoidably, is out with the core working period of NHS Scotland.
It follows that such demand can occur at any time and that services to meet this demand must be available 24 hours a day.”
In the past, the largest group of patients requiring unscheduled care, tended to use one of the following routes:
- an urgent appointment with their GP
- advice from NHS24
- referral to the out-of-hours service via NHS24
Service developments in community pharmacy have led to pharmacies becoming an important access route for people requiring unscheduled care, particularly over weekends and public holidays. Examples of the tools available to pharmacists include:
- the National Patient Group Direction (Version 26) for the Urgent Supply of Current Prescribed Medicines, Appliances and ACBS products
- Community Pharmacy Direct Referral to local Out of Hours services
- the NHS Minor Ailment Service which has established community pharmacy as the first port of call for the treatment of minor or routine ailments
For more information on Unscheduled Care and additional resources, please refer to the NHS Scotland website.