Campaign letter for RPS elections 2021: Helen Davies on growing the primary care workforce

This is a campaign letter for the 2021 RPS national pharmacy board elections. The views expressed in this letter belong to the author. Find out more about the RPS elections.

The GP pharmacy workforce has developed so much within the last six years. It is remarkable to witness pharmacists using their prescribing and medicines expertise to their full potential in these clinical roles. I observe this with excitement in my role as a primary care workforce development lead at a South Wales health board. Having GP practice pharmacy teams acknowledged as a part of a sustainable primary care strategy is testament to what we can achieve.

Despite the success, as a sector, primary care/GP pharmacy is in relative infancy. To continue to grow, it needs champions that realise the potential and advocate for the role. Training and development within primary care needs an equal focus, and there are many exciting programmes available or being developed to address this.

It’s not just within the walls of the GP surgery where these teams have significant impact. Place a GP pharmacy team into community multidisciplinary teams (MDTs), and the impact they can have managing patients in their home environment is outstanding. It has been encouraging to see teamwork develop. Other specialties, such as therapies and wellbeing coordinators, now realise the expertise pharmacy can offer. Strong links with existing community pharmacy services are being forged, with shared goals and the patient at the heart. Of course, the value of MDTs is not a new concept, as RPS Wales highlighted in ‘Multidisciplinary Team Working in a General Practice Setting’. Their worth is well established in other sectors too; I have been fortunate to be part of excellent MDTs in my previous secondary care role.

All pharmacy sectors suffer service pressures, and despite that, commendably go the extra mile for their patients. Why not help each other out? The teamwork approach is the way forward, both inside and outside of the pharmacy profession. We care for the same patients. There’s enough work for all sectors to have valuable input into the patient journey. Aligning with the vision of ‘Pharmacy: Delivering a Healthier Wales’, sector collaboration to care for patients closer to their home is key!

I’m standing for election for the Welsh Pharmacy Board. If elected, I will strive to give the GP pharmacy sector the voice they need to continually grow and be recognised for the value they add. I will focus on breaking down sector barriers to promote seamless, prudent care.

Helen Davies, election candidate, Welsh Pharmacy Board, Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Last updated
Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, April 2021;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.79086