The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Scottish Pharmacy Board (SPB) gathered on 22 January 2020 for their first meeting of the year — and the first national board meeting to be held in the Society’s new Edinburgh home at 44 Melville Street.
Present at the meeting were Sandra Gidley and Paul Bennett, president and chief executive of the RPS, respectively; Alex MacKinnon, director for RPS Scotland; Aileen Bryson, policy and practice lead at RPS Scotland; Colin Cable, assistant chief scientist at the RPS; Helen Reilly, head of external relations at the RPS; Robbie Turner, director of pharmacy and member experience at the RPS; Colin Cable, deputy chief scientist at the RPS; Graeme Bryson, director of pharmacy at NHS Dumfries & Galloway; and two Scottish pharmacy clinical leadership fellows: Pamela Macintyre, lead clinical pharmacist at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Siobhan McGuinness, senior practice pharmacist at NHS Fife.
Joining by Skype were board members Ailsa Power; Gino Martini, chief scientist at the RPS and Gail Fleming, director for education and professional development at the Society.
Apologies were received from board members Alasdair Macintyre and Tamara Cairney.
At the start of the meeting, Turner confirmed that open board meeting papers will now be made available on request to members of the Society.
MacKinnon then announced that four places on the SPB will be up for election during the Society’s 2020 national pharmacy board elections. Full details of nomination and voting dates will be announced once the election process formally begins.
Board members’ report
Jonathan Burton, chair of the SPB, highlighted the level of engagement with members of the Scottish parliament: Burton had given verbal evidence to the Health and Sport Committee’s primary care inquiry on 1 October 2019 and, in the near future was due to give evidence at further sessions on the supply and demand for medicines.
Reilly said that RPS Scotland’s mental health strategy had been drafted and would be launched later in spring 2020. Later in the year, the Society would publish its manifesto for the 2021 Scottish parliament elections. MacKinnon said that members will have an opportunity to help shape the manifesto through RPS Local groups and a member survey in March 2020. Reilly noted that “virtually everything” from the 2016 manifesto had been delivered — with the exception of access to electronic patient records.
Science and research
Cable said that an updated policy on e-cigarettes is due to be published in spring 2020, alongside a media campaign. Turner noted that the policy has been written for healthcare professionals, rather than the public, and that media messaging should bear that in mind. Aileen Bryson, thanked Cable and the e-cigarettes working group for their expertise, saying that the policy will be “watertight and evidence-based”. Martini acknowledged the working group chairship of Simon White, a member of the Science and Research Board who had spent a lot time on the policy.
Martini also noted that, as of December 2019, the Science and Research Board was dissolved. It would now develop into a Science and Research Committee, membership of which was currently awaiting ratification before being made public, he said.
All existing science and research working groups will, Cable noted, continue under the new Committee, which is expected to hold its first meeting in the “first quarter of 2020”.
A discussion on the General Medical Services (GMS) pharmacotherapy service was led by Graeme Bryson, Pamela Macintyre and Siobhan McGuinness. Bryson, who co-chairs the National Pharmacotherapy Service Strategic Group, noted that the GMS deal “puts GPs at the heart of the decision-making process [which] presents us with a challenge, having to engage and work around perceptions of what we should do”. He added that pharmacy technicians would be vital to delivering the service.
McGuinness, a primary care pharmacist by background, said she was looking at how pharmacotherapy services could be expanded, perhaps by working with community pharmacy. Macintyre, whose background is community pharmacy and primary care, said she was keen to demonstrate “as best we can what it means to patients who receive a clinical pharmacy service”, adding that she planned to gather case studies from patients through video interviews: “I don’t think many people outside these walls understand what clinical pharmacy means to patients”.
Education and professional development update
Gail Fleming said that the RPS had now taken over the review and approval of consultant pharmacist posts in England and Wales. Asked by board vice chair Ewan Black if this would be a source of income to the Society, Fleming said that the RPS had received funding from Health Education England as a start-up fund and had “done all accounts to ensure the service is cost neutral”.
Fleming also said that the Society’s mentoring service had exceeded its target of 500 registered users by the end of 2019. The offer would be refined in 2020, and would include the possibility of “tailoring the offer to specific groups,” Fleming said.
- The date of the next Scottish Pharmacy Board meeting is to be confirmed, but was provisionally scheduled for 29 April 2020.