As the Royal Pharmaceutical Society enters its latest elections, pharmacists are being seen in new and emerging roles. These are being seen by some as more exciting and rewarding than some current practice. However, I am concerned at the continuing theme that some current roles, particularly that of community pharmacists, are not seen as having the same status or importance.
We belong to the third largest profession but this continuous attempt to differentiate weakens that integrated size and instead leads to the ongoing perception that pharmacy is a small profession. In fact, whenever I talk to other health and care professionals, as well as commissioners and policy makers, many of them find the fact that we are the third largest profession a revelation. If we are to see a better integrated profession we need to recognise that all pharmacists are scientific clinicians who operate in a multitude of settings. Then the new emerging roles are seen in light of a continuum of care rather than as new professional silos.
The English Pharmacy Board has been effective in creating an environment for these developing roles and now needs to ensure they are integrated and valued by the public as much as the commissioners and policy makers. There is a need to recognise the reforms that are currently flowing through the hospital and community settings and to ensure these large parts of the profession are not lost in the stampede. Change is always welcome when it recognises the professional expertise but must not be change for change’s sake. It must be there to recognise that wherever there is a medicine there should be a pharmacist.
Ultimately the next phase of development should enable all pharmacists to become prescribers with responsibility for managing care and the ability to seek advice from the expertise of others to support and develop their decision making. The RPS must ensure that pharmacists can practise at the highest levels, ie ‘at the top of their licence’.
If I am elected back to the English Pharmacy Board I will continue to strive for recognition of all pharmacists as having an expertise in medicines that complements the skills of other clinicians with equality of standing and consistently valued by the public.
Candidate, English Pharmacy Board, Royal Pharmaceutical Society
The candidate letters for the RPS national pharmacy board elections have not been edited by The Pharmaceutical Journal