The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS’s) Scottish Pharmacy Board (SPB) met via Zoom on the evening of 9 November 2021. Guests present at the meeting were Claire Anderson, president of the RPS, and observers Roisin Kavanagh and Katherine Davidson, both of whom are members of the RPS. Apologies were received from board member Brian Addison.
Workforce position statement
Clare Morrison, director for RPS Scotland, updated the board on the development of RPS Scotland’s position statement on workforce pressures and shortages, which has been drafted in consultation with key stakeholders and a series three focus groups, held in October 2021. She said that Alison Strath, chief pharmaceutical officer for Scotland, is planning to submit a Scotland-focused statement to a workforce forum that Strath is currently working to establish.
Morrison asked the board for views on combining this with a Great Britain-wide position statement, given that England and Wales have now also held workforce focus groups. She asked whether the position statement ought to include views on supervision-related matters, or if that should be considered in a separate statement.
Audrey Thompson, a member of the SPB, said that she would support a Great Britain-wide approach, adding that “if we have time pressure, it is sensible to take it forward”.
In response, Morrison suggested that the current draft of RPS Scotland’s statement should be shared as soon as possible and try to get agreement in the next few weeks on a joint statement with RPS colleagues in England and Wales.
Andrew Carruthers, chair of the SPB, noted that the current draft of the position statement calls for discussion on matters including supervision, responsible pharmacists (RPs) and the pharmacy contract. Anderson told the board that a supervision group — with membership including representatives of the RPS, Company Chemists’ Association, National Pharmacy Association and the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK, among others — was currently being formed, and an independent chair would be appointed before the first meeting was held.
Board member Lola Dabiri said that the draft workforce statement makes the point that pharmacists must be able to take breaks, to ensure the safety of public and wellbeing of the team. She said it is important that the statement “sticks to that and focuses on how we can make it happen, [and not] lump [breaks] in with supervision — they are two separate things”.
Board member Iain Bishop agreed: “People are legally entitled to breaks and tired people are potentially unsafe. That’s what we need to focus on. We can go back to supervision as a separate thing, but this not time.”
Kathleen Cowle, vice chair of the SPB, noted that community pharmacy legislation around model hours “allows pharmacies to close for an hour every day: it is the employer’s decision”.
Board member Catriona Sinclair said she would like to see more of the statement’s emphasis given to educating the public: “We can reduce the 24/7 expectation by promoting the safety and wellbeing of the pharmacy workforce to the public,” she said.
Following further discussion, the board agreed to acknowledge in the draft that supervision is a longer-term project, and other amendments based on board feedback would be included in the draft. It will then, Carruthers said, be re-circulated to board for approval.
Next on the agenda was Morrison’s update on progress towards ‘Pharmacy 2030‘, RPS Scotland’s vision for how the sector will look by 2030. She explained that “constructive discussions” with the National Pharmacy Technician Group Scotland would lead to the final document being issued jointly.
Morrison also explained that the remaining focus groups were underway and that the document was at the final stage of drafting and that the vision for all sectors — community, general practice, hospital and specialist services — will be combined into one overarching document. Thompson, Bishop, and Carruthers agreed to help with final drafting and advice.
Morrison shared a proposal for a single workplan covering the three Great British nations, with flexibility around specific work for Scotland. She confirmed that a draft would be shared with the national pharmacy boards and suggested the boards work to approve a final version ahead of the next meeting in February 2022.
- The next Scottish Pharmacy Board meeting will be held on 2 February 2022