GLASGOW women will be able to access a temporary three-month supply of the mini pill from community pharmacies.

The national roll-out of the progestogen-only pill follows a successful pilot in pharmacies across Lothian and Tayside.

This step aims to complement existing services currently providing contraception to widen access and bridge the gap between emergency contraception and the use of longer term contraception.

Patients will still be advised to contact their own GP practice or sexual health service for ongoing contraception.

Ensuring women have the support they need to manage and improve their own health, including providing them with a choice of contraceptive options, is "central" to the Scottish Government’s Women’s Health Plan and is the first step to a health and wellbeing service in community pharmacies.

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Minister for public health and women’s health Maree Todd said: “Our UK-leading Women’s Health Plan demonstrates our ambition and determination to see change for women in Scotland, for their health and for their role in society. It’s crucial that we recognise the importance of women in society and a key part of this is prioritising the health of women - it has positive impact for us all.

"We want Scotland to be a world leader when it comes to women’s health. The introduction of this service will increase the choice for women in the ways in which they can access contraception.

“I would also like to give recognition to pharmacists and pharmacy teams across Scotland who continue to play a fundamental role in helping patients and the wider NHS team by ensuring people get the right care in the right place despite the additional pressures they face. Further enhancing the service the community pharmacy network offer through bridging contraception demonstrates its valuable role in our communities and in helping to address inequalities in health that women are facing.”

Until now, pharmacies were only able to supply emergency contraception with women directed to GP services for long-term solutions.

However, it is hoped the move will offer women more choice over their reproductive health.

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Professor Nicola Steedman, deputy chief medical officer, said: “This is not intended to replace existing services providing contraception, but to widen access and bridge the gap between emergency contraception and longer term contraception choices for women.

“Patients will be advised by pharmacy teams to speak to their GP or local sexual and reproductive health service for ongoing contraception after receiving this temporary supply.”