The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS’s) Scottish Pharmacy Board (SPB) met at the Society’s Edinburgh offices on 3 July 2019. Present at the meeting were Paul Bennett and Ash Soni, chief executive and then president of the RPS, respectively; Robbie Turner, director of pharmacy and member experience at the RPS and Gino Martini, chief scientist at the RPS. Apologies were received from board member Kathleen Cowle.
At a working session, held the day before the meeting, the board had elected Jonathan Burton as chair and Ewan Black as vice chair. The board had also welcomed new member Brian Addison, who was elected alongside returning members Kathleen Cowle and John McAnaw.
Business plan update
Giving an update on the SPB’s business plan for 2019, Alex MacKinnon, director for Scotland, said that following RPS Scotland’s launch of its updated care home policy in April 2019, Scottish Labour Party MP Monica Lennon had tabled a motion welcoming the report. Describing the motion as a “powerful” piece of publicity, MacKinnon added that the board would “keep a close eye to ensure as many of the report’s recommendations are delivered as possible”.
He added that the Scottish Health and Sport Committee’s ongoing inquiry into primary care for the next generation would require “quite a lot” of work from the RPS Scotland team and would need a strategy day to be held between now and September 2019, “to maximise opportunities for the profession”.
RPS Scotland’s work towards a mental health policy would continue through to autumn 2019, with a roundtable to take place, followed by a report that MacKinnon said will be a call-to-action in the same vein as the recent care home report.
He also said that there had been 12 successful local engagement events since the previous board meeting, with those on diabetes and menopause being particularly well received.
Policy and consultations
Aileen Bryson, deputy director and practice and policy lead at RPS Scotland, said that the English Pharmacy Board had agreed to campaign for better health and wellbeing for pharmacists in the workplace, using their previous mental health campaign as a template.
The board agreed that making this into a GB-wide piece of work would be a good idea, and that this would be proposed to the EPB. Bryson proposed that RPS Scotland should host a round table of Scottish stakeholders, in parallel with the EPB’s plans to host a round table later in 2019, which was also agreed.
Martini circulated a draft update of the Society’s policy on e-cigarettes, and asked for feedback. When feedback from all three boards has been received, the draft will be revised, taking the feedback into account. He also said that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is publishing a review of e-cigarettes in autumn 2019, which the Society will “take stock of” before publishing its own policy, most likely in early 2020.
RPS Local news
Annamarie McGregor, practice development and Local Practice Forum lead at RPS Scotland, opened a discussion on whether to levy a £20 fee to non-RPS members for attendance at RPS Local events in Scotland. The fee is already in place across England and Wales and can be used as a discount against RPS membership if the attendee joins the Society within three months of the event.
There was general support for the principle, as RPS Local events are considered a member benefit. Board member John McAnaw said that he didn’t see a £20 cost as “prohibitive”. Anne Boyter, also a board member, said that while pharmacists could join the Society, and therefore receive the membership discount followed by free attendance, this option was not open to pharmacy technicians. “Will technicians always spend £20 with no recoup?” she asked, querying whether they could be charged a lower fee of £10, given the wage differential between pharmacists and technicians. Soni suggested that thought be given to supporting the attendance of technicians who work for RPS members.
Burton said he supported the concept of holding one open event each year, and also a “support staff bring-a-friend option” — but also agreed that Society membership fees need to bring value for money.
After some discussion, the board agreed in principle to the charge and tasked McGregor to arrange the practicalities of how it might work.
Science and research
Martini said that the Society’s Research Ready programme, which supports community pharmacists to undertake research, was in the process of a revamp. A review group, chaired by Martini and Christine Bond, who also chairs the Science and Research Board, had been established and a report is due to be issued towards the end of 2019.
An update from Gail Fleming, directorate of education and professional development at the RPS, said that the e-portfolio to support Faculty, Foundation and revalidation would be refreshed to make it easier to use, and work towards this would begin later in 2019. Fleming also said that the Society had established an internal preregistration operational group, with representatives from directorates across the Society, which will look at how to best support preregistration education and training.
Pharmacy Clinical Leadership Fellows
Board members also heard from Pamela Mills and Shady Botros, who are both undertaking the Scottish Pharmacy Clinical Leadership Fellowship scheme. The fellows are responsible for leading on actions of ‘Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical Care’, the Scottish government’s vision for pharmacy.
Mills and Botros gave an overview of their priorities. Mills, who focuses on integration of pharmacy services, said that good IT and digital interoperability is essential: “People are often shocked by how hard it is to access information. We are constrained by IT systems that have contracts in place, but we need a vision for interoperability to allow us to do our jobs”, she said.
Botros, who works on transformation of hospital pharmacy, said that drivers of this include redirecting the pharmacy team to patient-facing activities “where prescribing is the norm” and enhanced education and training for the whole pharmacy team, so that hospitals “use the skill mix of everyone, with technicians and everyone else working to the top of their license”.
Finally, the board heard from Steve Field, RPS business solutions architect, that plans to move the RPS Scotland headquarters to 44 Melville Street, Edinburgh, were progressing on time and to budget. The move is planned for December 2019.
- The next SPB meeting will be held on 25 September 2019.