Pharmacist expertise must be used to support people with long-term conditions

A new campaign calling for pharmacists to have a significant role in supporting people with long-term conditions is being launched by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

A pharmacist helping a patient

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has launched a new campaign calling for the expertise and clinical knowledge of pharmacists to be fully used to support people with long-term conditions across England, Scotland and Wales.

To demonstrate how the role of the pharmacist can be enhanced to prevent, identify, treat and support people with long-term conditions, the campaign focuses on four key recommendations: the first is for all pharmacists providing direct patient care to have the opportunity to train to become a prescriber. As part of this, the RPS is asking for a change in the law to enable practising prescribing pharmacists to mentor pharmacists who want to become prescribers.

The RPS is also calling for pharmacists to be enabled to directly refer patients to appropriate health and social care professionals to improve access to care and reduce unnecessary appointments. It also asks that pharmacists be further integrated into the multidisciplinary team to ensure pharmaceutical care is available throughout the patient journey. And finally, it wants all pharmacists involved in patient care to have full read and write access to the patient health record.

As well as these four GB-wide messages, the RPS in England, Scotland and Wales will each be launching its own recommendations, specific to that country’s healthcare system. RPS Wales launched its campaign on 3 November 2016 at the 6th Annual Medicines Safety Conference in Cardiff where around 200 health professionals and NHS managers heard the calls to action.

Source: Royal Pharmaceutical Society

RPS Wales launched its long-term conditions campaign on 3 November 2016, which Welsh Pharmacy Board chair Suzanne Scott-Thomas says marks the start of RPS Wales’ commitment to improving care for patients with long-term conditions

“I am absolutely delighted with the level of support we have received for this initiative in Wales from within all sectors of the pharmacy profession as well as from other royal colleges and patient groups,” says Suzanne Scott-Thomas, chair of the RPS Welsh Pharmacy Board. “This policy has been developed to instigate action at national and local levels and marks the start of our commitment to improving care for patients with long-term conditions.”

A separate parliamentary event at the House of Commons in Westminster on 30 November 2016 will mark the England launch of the campaign with further activity planned in Scotland on 1 December 2016, to coincide with the RPS Scottish Pharmacy Board’s strategy day.

Sandra Gidley, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, says: “Community pharmacists in England have had a tough year, with uncertainty replaced by a new reality of reduced funding through the national contractual framework. The new role for community pharmacists, supporting people with long-term conditions within the heart of the NHS, needs buy-in from those across government and the NHS as well as those who own and work in pharmacies.

“We will be working hard to make sure those in positions of influence and power both agree with our view, and put in place the necessary resources to make our policy recommendations happen,” she adds.

John McAnaw, chair of the RPS Scottish Pharmacy Board, comments: “This campaign gives us a great opportunity to further promote the role of the pharmacist around long-term conditions.

“With an increasing number of people now living with a long-term condition in Scotland, we already know that the pharmacist’s expertise in the use of medicines and in supporting self-management strategies can help people achieve the right outcomes from treatment. However, more can be done given the right tools, support and access to the clinical information.”

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, November 2016, Vol 297, No 7895;297(7895):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201900

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