Scottish Pharmacy Board meeting: 14 June 2017

The Scottish Pharmacy Board held its third meeting of the year in June 2017, at Holyrood Park House, Edinburgh. Improving the pharmaceutical care of people in care homes, patient consent and how to increase the number of nominations for Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society were the topics of debate.

Alasdair Angus Macintyre, Deborah Alice Stafford and Jonathan Burton

The Scottish Pharmacy Board (SPB) held its third meeting of 2017 on 14 June 2017, at Holyrood Park House, Edinburgh. The meeting saw two new board members welcomed: Alasdair Angus Macintyre, a community and superintendent pharmacist for A&P Macintyre, and Deborah Alice Stafford, principal pharmacist for education, training and development with NHS Tayside. Returning to the board after a short absence was Jonathan Burton, community pharmacist and director of Right Medicine Pharmacy. Ailsa Power, associate postgraduate pharmacy dean at NHS Education for Scotland (NES), who was re-elected following the completion of her previous term, sent her apologies for this meeting.

John MacAnaw was re-elected as chair of the SPB, with Jonathan Burton taking up the role of vice-chair. David Thomson retained his elected role as SPB representative to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Assembly. 

Business plan and policy update

Aileen Bryson, interim director for Scotland, shared updates on RPS Scotland’s business plan for quarter two of 2017. Improving the pharmaceutical care of people in care homes is a priority, as is the RPS’s joint commitment with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) to improve patient care in care homes. During the latter half of 2017, the RPS will re-introduce its care homes policy work into the planned Scottish Government working group on improving the care of people in care homes, and a pharmacist has been appointed to work one session per week on a refresh of the policy and on preparing a joint statement with the RCGP to feed into the government working group.

Promotion of RPS Scotland’s manifesto ‘Right Medicine – Better Health – Fitter Future’ continues, and the proposals for access to records, part of the manifesto, were referenced by the Scottish Government.

RPS’s partnership with NES, which aims to deliver foundation vocational training for pharmacists, was reported to be on track. In May 2017, 19 hospital pharmacists successfully completed their vocational training foundation programme with NES. As NES has received RPS Foundation School accreditation, these pharmacists will now also be eligible for RPS Foundation certification if they are RPS members.

During a discussion on RPS Scotland’s commitment to promote engagement in the RPS Faculty, Foundation, Mentoring and Leadership programmes, Jonathan Burton said it was important to show that there is a bank of Scottish members willing to help colleagues build their portfolios. The current referral system goes through London, and there was agreement that Scottish members may not know who to approach directly in Scotland for help building portfolios. Burton added that the RPS website has online networking groups, but that he suspects these are currently underused and that “more could be made from them”.

Proposal for election change

The board had received formal correspondence and informal feedback on the recent board election processes, which were discussed in detail. The board discussed suggestions for change, including holding online hustings before voting opens rather than during the voting period, and reducing the voting period from the current three-week window. McAnaw, in response, acknowledged support for the SPB preparing some constructive suggestions for changes to the existing process. The board formally agreed to call for a review to existing arrangements with a view to making the RPS elections a better experience for candidates and members.

Patient consent

After lunch, there was a discussion on patient consent. Macintyre argued that the current system for pharmacists obtaining patient consent can be a hindrance to patient care and needs to be improved. “As a professional body, we should lobby the government in Scotland,” he said. “We [pharmacists] cannot do things that other professionals can do as a matter of course.” Macintyre added that he firmly agreed that patients need to give informed consent but that pharmacists should be able to obtain this as easily as other health professionals and not to “have to jump through more hoops”. Elaine Thompson said that it is important to understand what consent really means, particularly in cases where a patient may, for example, have dementia.

Bryson responded that she sensed the appetite for a “big piece of work”, allied to access to the summary care record, to develop an equitable system for pharmacists to obtain consent, agreeing that the SPB should take forward this “really important point”. Case studies would help in making the case, she added. Susanne Cameron-Nielsen, head of external relations at RPS Scotland, said the Scottish team would prepare a statement on its position on access to the summary care record, making it clear to politicians the implications for patients and professionals of lack of access. 

Scottish Fellows

SPB member David Thomson said that Scotland was under-represented among RPS Fellows and asked if there was something in the “Scottish psyche not to put itself forward?” There was general agreement across the board that members should consider whether they know anyone who could be eligible for recognition, with Susanne Cameron-Nielsen suggesting that a campaign leading up to any future Fellows’ receptions could be useful. However, Macintyre pointed out what he saw as a barrier: it is not possible to nominate someone without their knowledge, as the nominee has to write their own CV. Ailsa Power, another board member, added that it is even harder for community pharmacists to be nominated, citing difficulties in obtaining CVs.

RPS Local update

Annamarie MacGregor, professional support pharmacist at the RPS, said that a large number of applications had been received for RPS local co-ordinator posts, with many younger pharmacists coming forward. A brief discussion on how to increase engagement with local groups followed, during which Bryson highlighted the importance of board members being visible in RPS local groups as a conduit to the RPS.

John Cromarty added that in the Highlands, he had seen “phenomenal engagement” with video events, which led to discussion about whether a video promoting the benefits of pharmacists working in the Highlands would be beneficial, with Macintyre saying that this may help to encourage pharmacists to stay in the region during, and following, pre-registration.

Finally, in open business, Kimberley Shields, general counsel at the RPS, briefed the board on the UK law on data protection (with reference to the general data protection regulation coming into force next year), intellectual property and copyright, trademarks, confidentiality, bullying and harassment, and bribery, and how these laws impact on the work of the Society and its boards.

•  The next Scottish Pharmacy Board meeting is scheduled for 27 September 2017.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, July 2017, Vol 299, No 7903;299(7903):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20203186

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