Hospital pharmacist Maree Todd has become a member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Scottish National Party (SNP) after standing for election for the first time.
Todd, who is MSP for the Highlands and Islands region, says she is determined to help raise the profile of the profession in Scotland and will encourage pharmacists to realise their potential in the new integrated health and social care landscape.
“I definitely plan to become a voice for pharmacy,” she says. “Pharmacy is the third largest profession in the NHS but is under recognised. In Scotland there are huge opportunities for pharmacists to become involved in new roles and filling in some of those gaps in health care.”
Todd, who specialises in psychiatry at the New Craigs Psychiatric Hospital in Inverness and is a prescriber, was about to become one of the first pharmacists in Scotland to run an outpatient clinic in the community for patients with anxiety disorders. That plan has now been abandoned as she launches her political career, but she is keen to maintain her professional registration and is considering taking on a role in pharmacy education.
“I am very keen to remain registered but not sure how to achieve that. I have worked for 20 years in psychiatry and sometimes medicines are not the only solution. The chance to become an MSP was attractive to me because it means I can get involved in a job that can have a more holistic approach to health.”
Todd became interested in politics, and particularly the SNP and the campaign group “NHS For Yes”, in the run up to the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 and was encouraged to stand for Holyrood.