As the only practising hospital pharmacist currently on the English Pharmacy Board, I am acutely aware that the voice of hospital pharmacy needs to be represented at this level. In the three years that I have been on the Board, the transformation in pharmacy and the call for pharmacists to be recognised as medicines experts is ever increasing. From my perspective, the cuts in funding for community pharmacy have dealt a hammer blow to the health and care system at a time when accessible health care at the point of need, particularly in deprived areas and vulnerable population groups, is being challenged. The knock-on effect of this is the increasing number of patients coming through hospital emergency departments, resulting in capacity issues and increased waiting times for patients. I have experienced this myself with a 5-hour-plus wait in my local hospital for my 11-year-old son who had worsening infected eczema on his face. We weren’t seen until the early hours of the morning; the only intervention made was more of the same antibiotics. The plus-side was that we were now ‘in the system’ and could be seen by a dermatologist. Going through the GP would have taken up to six months, and it was the GP who recommended going to the hospital for this particular reason.
Hospital pharmacy practice is transforming at a rapid pace, with the increase in pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in patient-facing, clinical, roles as per the Carter review
, and with a drive for more pharmacists in emergency departments
, it is important that the Board is aware of these issues when it comes to policies and standards. It is welcome news that the legal defence on the decriminalisation of inadvertent dispensing errors in community has come into force
, but there is work to be done for the equivalent legal defence to apply to hospital pharmacy practice; the issue being that most dispensing of medicines in hospitals is near to patient and therefore outside of registered pharmacy premises. Critical issues like this need an experienced voice of hospital pharmacy at Board level.
The Boards must be diverse to be able to represent the breadth and depth of the profession; the English Board doesn’t have sectoral seats, which makes it even more important that hospital pharmacy has a seat at the table.
Aamer Safdar, England
This is a campaign pledge for the 2018 National Pharmacy Board elections.
Voting opens on 30 April 2018 and closes on 18 May 2018.
For more information, please visit: http://bit.ly/RPSNPB2018