Integrated working: opportunities for pharmacists and better care for patients

Better utilisation of pharmacists and implementation of medicines optimisation are what we all want but how do we make it happen? Integration is the key. We need joined up innovative pharmaceutical care pathways that support all patients and reward pharmacists for improving outcomes by better use of their clinical skills. This will provide value for the NHS, opportunities for pharmacists and better outcomes for patients.

Integrated working with other health and social care professionals is essential. Pharmacy has so much to offer but still does not always have a seat at the decision making table and we need to change this urgently. My experience in community, primary care and hospital is that other healthcare professionals are really keen to integrate the clinical skills of pharmacists, particularly around comorbidity and priority disease areas such as diabetes, cardiovascular and mental health. As chair of the Primary Care Pharmacy Association, I am passionate about integrating community pharmacy into mainstream primary care as fellow clinicians alongside doctors and nurses. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has done great work to date with medical royal colleges and there is an urgent need for further action on understanding professional cultures and barriers to integrated working. As they say, culture eats policy for breakfast.

Integrating with development of NHS Right Care plans for medicines optimisation, there is a huge opportunity for pharmacy to deliver on prevention of disease, early detection, support for long-term conditions, improving outcomes and empowering patients with shared decision making and self management. NHS Right Care activity to improve quality of care and medicines optimisation is being planned now and the RPS has an influential role to play. I am well placed to champion this on your behalf as the RPS representative on the national steering group for medicines optimisation. I will develop close links with the NHS Right Care medicines optimisation lead.

As a passionate enthusiast and believer in the largely untapped benefits pharmacists can bring to improving healthcare and social care, and providing value for the NHS, I ask you to vote in the RPS elections and hope to have your support.

Liz Butterfield

Election candidate

English Pharmacy Board

Royal Pharmaceutical Society




Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Integrated working: opportunities for pharmacists and better care for patients;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201029

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