From 7–9 March 2017, Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Scotland held an exhibition at the Scottish Parliament to allow RPS representaties to advocate directly to policymakers in Scotland about the clinical expertise of pharmacists, and how this can be further utilised across all care settings.
Over the three-day event, representatives from RPS Scotland – including Aileen Bryson, interim director for Scotland — met with 36 MSPs, and follow-up meetings with 10 of these ministers have been agreed.
In addition, 17 MSPs signed a pledge (available on RPS Scotland’s manifesto) promising to support the full use of pharmacists’ clinical expertise and ensure that everyone in Scotland has access to pharmaceutical care regardless of setting. This brings the total number of MSP signatories to 39.
As well as promoting the wider use of pharmacists’ clinical skills, the Scottish Pharmacy Board and its directorate team used the exhibition to emphasise that pharmacy is a profession underpinned by ongoing scientific research.
Susanne Cameron-Nielsen, head of external relations at RPS Scotland, says: “Our stand was designed to demonstrate that pharmacy is a science-based profession and featured images of the molecular structures of a range of medicines widely used in our NHS, such as simvastatin, salbutamol and omeprazole, as well as some that are more controversial, such as nicotine and thalidomide.
“We used these to start conversations about personalised medicine, the role of pharmacists across all settings, community pharmacies’ role in pharmaceutical public health, and how drugs can be repurposed,” she adds.
Cameron-Nielsens adds that 22,000 Twitter impressions (that is, delivery of tweets to individual accounts or search results) were made over the course of the exhibition, many of which showed MSPs from the Scottish National Party, Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Labour and Scottish Greens holding up the manifesto in support.
The exhibition — sponsored by MSP and pharmacist Maree Todd — is reported to be the first of its kind for the RPS.