RPS Scotland consults on Pharmacy 2030: a vision for community pharmacy over the next decade

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland has published a vision for what it hopes community pharmacy will look like at the end of the decade.
Busy pharmacy counter

Pharmacogenomics should be in use in all community pharmacies by 2030, according to a draft vision set out by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Scotland.

Pharmacy 2030: a vision for community pharmacy’, published for consultation on 31 March 2021, lays out what the Society hopes community pharmacy will look like towards the end of the decade.

Developed with input from pharmacists across Scotland — both RPS members and non-members — the vision encompasses what the Society sees as both the role of the community pharmacist and the infrastructure underpinning the sector, and is aligned to national strategic priorities, the Society says.

Ultimately, the vision sees pharmacists being recognised as consulting clinicians by both the public and other health professionals. This includes the “vast majority” of community pharmacists being independent prescribers; all patients being registered with a pharmacy for continuity of care; and all pharmacy consultations recorded in the patient record.

Pharmacy technicians will oversee the assembly of medicines, with pharmacists continuing to perform clinical checks. However, the vision sees medicines assembly and accuracy checks being much more automated, freeing up both pharmacist and technician time for more clinical work.

The vision adds that the community pharmacy sector will have a central role in addressing health inequalities — noting that, in Scotland, the placement of pharmacies covers a diverse range of localities, including city centres and remote islands. Pharmacy services will be “planned and tailored to meet the specific needs of these diverse local populations, rather than universally offered by all pharmacies”. To help address the perception of some that “community pharmacists are shopkeepers rather than clinicians”, pharmacy premises will be more clinical and less retail-focused, and items stocked by pharmacies “will deliver health needs rather than be gift items”: although the vision notes that, in some locations, a lack of additional shops may mean that certain items like toiletries will continue to be sold.  

The vision also sees community pharmacists having “enhanced roles in harm minimisation to reduce drug deaths”.

Underpinning all of this will be an enhanced use of data on patient outcomes, focused on the benefit local populations are getting from community pharmacy services rather than a stricter focus on the number of patient interventions. This will ensure “that community pharmacies are improving population health and meeting high quality standards”, the vision says.

It also foresees a universal patient record held in a data cloud, shared with all other healthcare professions, and a fully electronic prescribing, dispensing and payment system.

Pharmacists themselves will see protected learning time as the norm, as well as “access to protected rest/meal breaks during the working day to improve wellbeing, reduce stress and with this reduce the risk of errors”.

‘Pharmacy 2030: a vision for community pharmacy’ is the first in a series of visions for the sector that will be consulted on during 2021, with GP practice pharmacy, hospital pharmacy and specialist services to follow. The Society will also, the vision says, “engage with pharmacists in non-patient facing areas including technical roles, academia, education and the pharmaceutical industry”, with the ultimate aim of creating a single vision called Pharmacy 2030, to be published in autumn 2021.

“The COVID pandemic has changed our world and it has changed healthcare”, said Clare Morrison, RPS director for Scotland.

“This is why pharmacy needs a new vision. Not because previous strategies weren’t good, but because we need something now that reflects our changed world. Today’s publication is the first step in creating that vision.”

Pharmacy 2030, Morrison added,describes a future where community pharmacies will remain the place from which people get their medicines, but the pharmacist’s role will be transformed”.

Jonathan Burton, chair of the RPS Scottish Pharmacy Board, said that “as the only pharmacy organisation with members across all sectors of pharmacy, RPS is well-placed to engage with the profession and create a single vision for the whole of pharmacy”.

‘Pharmacy 2030: a vision for community pharmacy’ is open for consultation until 1 July 2021.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, March 2021, Vol 306, No 7947;306(7947)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.73994

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