COMPASS (COMmunity Pharmacies And Scotland’s Sexual health) – Community Pharmacies as a resource for Sexual Health in Scotland

Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services are traditionally provided by GPs and specialist sexual health services. Access can be challenging due to high demand and underinvestment in these services. There is also some confusion and lack of awareness about where to seek advice and support for specific issues. Community pharmacies are a convenient and accessible resource. They are widely available and offer extended hours, making them a good option for those who may be hesitant to visit traditional sexual health facilities or struggle to attend an appointment during working hours. In Scotland, the Women’s Health Plan recognises the potential of community pharmacies to provide routine sexual health services.

What does the project aim to do?

COMPASS considers the role of community pharmacies within the wider sexual health system. It brings together healthcare professionals and individuals with lived experiences to collaboratively assess how community pharmacies can be better utilised. The goal is to identify gaps and problems and co-create recommendations for a more equitable and effective delivery system. The project focuses on women's health, addressing issues such as access to contraception, some STI testing and treatment, menstrual health, menopause, and medical abortion through community pharmacies.

How will we do this?

The project involves a series of workshops and interviews with professionals and women to explore how SRH care in Scotland can be improved for greater efficiency. COMPASS will identify ways to make SRH care more accessible and responsive to the needs of women in Scotland, leveraging the convenience and availability of community pharmacies while addressing some of the challenges in the current system.

The work will be guided by both a Professional Advisory Group and a Women’s Advisory Group.

The project is funded by a PhD studentship from the UK Medical Research Council (MRC).

If you would like to know more or are interested in taking part, please email Kirsten Kernaghan.

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