Our expertise is unique, built on a foundation of science, combined with clinical knowledge to improve the health of our nation. This century has seen a revolution in the way medicines are developed, with personalised medicines set to become the norm rather than the exception. We need to ensure that our profession is at the forefront of this revolution. I have spent over a quarter of a century in science and industry and now, more than ever, I am convinced that our profession is the only profession that is capable of developing, selecting, optimising and supplying medicines in the era of personalised medicines.
Our understanding of the genetic markers associated with specific disease states is growing exponentially, enabling us to eliminate the “trial and error” approach to prescribing that has characterised much of the past century. Today we can use genomic analysis and sophisticated diagnostics to select the right medicine for patients dramatically improving clinical outcomes. No other healthcare profession is more accessible or better qualified to do this than us but, if we fail to grasp the opportunity, we will become increasingly irrelevant as a healthcare profession.
I will champion our role, pushing for an expanded remit that will allow us to bring the benefits of personalised medicines to patients in every community.
An expanded remit will not be enough we will need to ‘up our game’ as clinical scientists and that can only be achieved through high quality education. Pharmacy education in the UK is among the best in the world but it is under enormous pressure.
I will champion education that provides this and the next generation of pharmacists with the ability to transform the nation’s health through the application of outstanding clinical science.
Our expertise in optimising and supplying medicines is well proven but not unchallenged. Unless we continually demonstrate the financial and clinical benefits of what we do, we will come under increasing pressure. The government’s proposal to cut community pharmacy funding and close vast numbers of community pharmacies jeopardises patients’ access to high quality pharmaceutical care at the very time it is needed most. Indeed the need for access to pharmacists is set to increase, not diminish, as medicines become more personalised.
I will continue to oppose the cuts and extol the continuing and growing need for access to pharmacists with the skills to improve the health of our nation.
English Pharmacy Board
Royal Pharmaceutical Society