Alison Strath
Title: Professor
First Name: Alison
Surname: Strath
Position: Professor
Telephone: +44 (0) 1224 262530

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Roles and responsibilities

  • Professor of Community Pharmacy Practice at the School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences

Key research interests

Professor Strath's research interests are rooted in the development of health care policy and the provision, by the pharmacy profession, of a sound evidence base. Her key research interests include:

  • The management of long term conditions and person centred care: The Chronic Medication Service (CMS). The CMS element of the pharmacy contract in Scotland allows patients with long-term conditions to register with a community pharmacy of their choice for the provision of pharmaceutical care as part of a shared agreement between the patient, community pharmacist and General Practitioner (GP). Professor Strath is interested in looking at the opportunities CMS provides to develop research and educational programmes in areas such as self care, patient information / support, compliance and concordance.
  • The management of self limiting and minor illness: The NHS Minor Ailment Service (MAS). MAS allows certain groups of people to register with and use a community pharmacy as the first port of call for the treatment of common illnesses on the NHS. Professor Strath is interested in looking at how MAS can be enhanced to cover a wider range of conditions, for example by more fully utilising pharmacist prescribing powers.  
  • Technology developments to underpin practice. One of the initial principles underpinning the community pharmacy contract was that the new services would, where appropriate, be underpinned by IT support. The ePharmacy Programme, based on the electronic transfer of prescription data, has provided the necessary technical infrastructure and service specific functionality to provide this. There are a number of opportunities to build on this infrastructure, including developing enhanced programmes and system applications to support practice.
  • Models of remuneration. Scotland has led the way in developing new models of remuneration for community pharmacy contractors, in particular with the introduction of a capitation based payment for both the Minor Ailment and Chronic Medication Service elements of the pharmacy contract. Professor Strath is interested in exploring the impact of new models of remuneration on current practice and investigating future enhancements which can be considered in order to build, with confidence, on the excellent progress already made.  
  • Patient safety. The relevance of medication in patient safety is well articulated in international literature with medication errors accounting for a significant proportion of harm across healthcare settings. Professor Strath is interested in models to improve patient safety and the quality of care in relation to therapeutics and medicines.
  • Undergraduate and postgraduate education. Professor Strath is interested in the further integration of science and practice teaching at undergraduate level and is working closely with practice and biomedical colleagues in the School to explore the opportunities of how new technology can support innovation in teaching, learning and assessment.

Current research

Professor Strath is actively involved in a number of funded projects, as well as PhD student supervision. Recent funded projects include:

  • Placement Research Assistant with Dr Lesley Diack: 2011-13; NES Pharmacy / NHS Grampian: £50,000
  • Development of the Chronic Medication Service within the MPharm Course; Scottish Government Health Department and NES (2012): £100,000
  • Pharmacy Undergraduate Clinical Skills Training with Professor Don Cairns: 2011-12; SG / NES Pharmacy: £100,000


CPD Advantage with Dr Scott Cunningham and Professor Derek Stewart: 2008-2009; NES Pharmacy: £30,000

CPD Advantage with Dr Scott Cunningham and Professor Derek Stewart: 2009-10; NES Pharmacy: £15,000

Professional Doctorate with Dr Rachel Knott: 2010-11; NES Pharmacy: £15,000

AMS computer assisted learning resource with Dr Lesley Diack: SG £3,000


  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) Pharmacy
  • SEHD Primary Care Leadership Programme, Aberdeen University
  • Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (FRPharmS)

Professor Strath graduated with a Batchelor of Science (Honours) in Pharmacy from the School of Pharmacy at the Robert Gordon Institute of Technology in 1989 and became a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (MRPharmS) in 1990. She undertook the SEHD Primary Care Leadership Programme run by Aberdeen University during 1998-99.

Professor Strath is also currently on a part-time secondment to the Scottish Government as Principal Pharmaceutical Officer where she is responsible for implementing the community pharmacy aspects of the Government’s strategy for pharmaceutical care, The Right Medicine. This includes designing and implementing the new community pharmacy contract in Scotland and developing the necessary IT support to underpin the contract. She also has responsibilities for advising Scottish Ministers, senior civil servants and members of the Scottish Parliament.

Professional Affiliations:

  • Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB)
  • Registered with General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)
  • Senior Team, School of Pharmacy & Life Sciences
  • School Academic Board, School of Pharmacy & Life Sciences
  • Chair, Fitness to Practise Panel, School of Pharmacy & Life Sciences
  • Strategic Lead, Professional Experiences Programme, School of Pharmacy & Life Sciences
  • Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice Teaching Group, School of Pharmacy & Life Sciences
  • Postgraduate Module Team for Advanced Pharmacy Practice, School of Pharmacy & Life Sciences
  • Student Tutor, School of Pharmacy & Life Sciences
  • External Assessor for NHS Pharmacy Appointments, NHS Scotland
  • NES Pharmacy Advisory Group, NHS Education for Scotland (NES)
  • National ePharmacy Policy and Implementation Groups, Scottish Government
  • eHealth Programme Board, Scottish Government
  • Safer Medicines Working Group, Scottish Government  
  • Scottish Patient Safety Programme: Patient Safety in Primary Care Pharmacy Reference Group, Healthcare Improvement Scotland
  • Scottish Government & Pharmaceutical Industry Medical Directors Liaison Group, Scottish Government

Publications / Public Output 

School of Pharmacy & Life Sciences

  • Professional leadership in community pharmacy practice to support course development, teaching, learning and assessment at undergraduate and postgraduate level in all sectors of pharmacy practice
  • Professional leadership in research programmes to influence policy developments relating to community pharmacy practice and technology advances including ePharmacy and eHealth
  • Pharmacy education developments linked to current and future NHS workforce plans including the response to the proposed integrated 5 Year MPharm
  • Educational needs of pharmacy practitioners providing pharmaceutical services
  • Pharmacy practice service developments in relation to pharmaceutical care for specific and general management of patients with self-limiting and long term conditions
  • Development of multidisciplinary links in relation to teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level, service provision and research
  • Internal mentoring and external stakeholder liaison roles including government agencies, funding bodies, professional representative and regulatory bodies, other education providers, patient and voluntary groups and the NHS

Scottish Government Secondment

  • Development and implementation of the new community pharmacy contract in Scotland and the associated ePharmacy Programme
  • Design and introduction of a new system of remuneration for community pharmacy contractors in Scotland based on capitation
  • Policy development for all aspects of community pharmacy practice
  • Input into various pharmacy and health strategy Government White Papers
  • Professional advice on policy and strategic developments to Scottish Ministers, Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and the pharmacy profession and the NHS