The role of community pharmacies is to be extended under plans set out by the Scottish Government.

A new strategy for improving NHS pharmaceutical care includes measures aimed at encouraging more people to use their local pharmacy as a "first port of call" for minor illnesses and self-management of long-term conditions.

The Government plans to expand the number of community pharmacists undertaking independent prescribing and advanced clinical skills training.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "This strategy is a vital part of our efforts to transform primary care, enabling more people to be treated at home or in the community and easing pressure on other services.

"It sets out our priorities for improvements over the next five years - helping to deliver our commitment that every GP practice will have access to a pharmacist with advanced clinical skills by 2021."

The strategy will also see the role of pharmacies in hospitals strengthened by developing a plan to support the delivery of "safe, effective and productive working" across seven days.

Chief pharmaceutical officer Dr Rose Marie Parr said: "Pharmacy teams in both hospital and the community already play an important role in the provision of NHS services.

"In the community, we are making good progress in promoting local pharmacies as the first port of call for our most common healthcare needs and I want to encourage more people to see them as their initial point of care.

"Coupled with the commitment to transform hospital pharmacy services, I believe this strategy will support our ambition to deliver world-class pharmaceutical care."

Scottish Conservative MSP Miles Briggs said: "This is a very welcome move, and one the Scottish Conservatives have been calling on for some time. In fact, we set out a very similar plan to this last year.

"If community pharmacies can play a greater role in preventing issues and dealing with minor cases, it will have a positive impact on both GPs and accident and emergency units."