The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) Welsh Pharmacy Board (WPB) held its autumn meeting at the Society’s offices in Pontprennau, Cardiff, on 10 October 2018. In attendance at the meeting were Paul Bennett, chief executive of the RPS; Ash Soni, president of the RPS; Harvinder Sondh, RPS director of innovation and enterprise; Jeremy Macdonald, RPS director of technology; Helen Gray, RPS head of people; and Mahendra Patel, English Pharmacy Board member and RPS treasurer. Apologies were received from Paul Harris.
Mair Davies, RPS director for Wales, said that she had met with Carole Longson, chief scientific officer and education lead at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), and has been invited to speak at the next APBI board meeting, to be held in Wales in January 2019. Among other stakeholder events, Davies had attended meetings with the NHS 111 Implementation Programme Board, and meetings to produce guidance for the development of consultant pharmacist posts, which has since been put out for consultation.
Suzanne Scott-Thomas, chair of the Board, said that she had attended the Welsh NHS Confederation’s Brexit round table, held on 11 September 2018. A follow-up meeting has now been planned, and Scott-Thomas asked the Board to advise her of any issues or questions that they feel the meeting should include.
Scott-Thomas had also attended a multidisciplinary team (MDT) workshop held jointly by the RPS and the Royal College of General Practitioners. GPs, pharmacists, paramedics, physiotherapists and occupational therapists had attended. The meeting was, she said, very productive, and has “delivered a set of principles to support MDT working in primary care”.
At the last meeting of the Welsh Pharmacy Partnership, set up in 2016 to provide a vision for pharmacy in Wales, Scott-Thomas fed back on the 2018 International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) Congress and shared a number of innovations and new models of service to help inform the vision work.
It was noted that in the previous week, membership in Wales had increased by 1.5% — likely as a consequence of RPS Wales’s work towards the Welsh vision for pharmacy, as well as other outreach activities including six revalidation sessions. These were held at Boots’s “Let’s Connect” events in September 2018, across Wales and South West England.
Other updates from the business plan include confirmation that Vaughan Gething, the Welsh cabinet secretary for health and social services, will deliver the keynote presentation at the 2018 Medicines Safety Conference, and that a report from RPS Wales’s recent workforce wellbeing survey is complete and ready for circulation. Based on survey feedback, a focus group had been held to explore what members want from the Society. Signposting to sources of support was a common theme in feedback, the Board heard, although it was noted that mentoring is a Society-wide aspect of existing support.
Policy and consultations
RPS Wales’s palliative care policy will be launched at a reception immediately following the 2018 Medicines Safety Conference, Elen Jones, practice and policy lead, told the Board. Scott-Thomas thanked her and the wider whole team for their work on this, saying that they had “interacted with a huge amount of people” during the development of this policy. Upcoming meetings include, among others, the Welsh Assembly’s Cross-Party Group on Hospice and Palliative Care annual general meeting and meetings with Julie Morgan, MP and member of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee, and Angela Burns, member of the National Assembly for Wales health spokesperson for the Welsh Conservative Party.
Bennett commended the work, saying that it “epitomises what the Board is about”, and asked the Society to consider how the material developed could be used outside of Wales.
The WPB had responded to the Welsh government consultation on the Living with persistent pain in Wales guidance, Jones said. Britain-wide consultation responses included the General Pharmacuetical Council’s ‘Consultation on developing our approach to regulating registered pharmacies’ and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s consultation on implementing ‘safety features’ under the Falsified Medicines Directive.
Scott-Thomas said that she and Board member Cheryl Way had attended the 2018 FIP congress, held in Glasgow from 2–6 September 2018, with a view to looking at links with the policy vision for Wales. Jodie Williamson, who attended as part of the RPS events team, noted that 68 new international members had signed up, and said that pharmacists in other countries valued the RPS’s resources — including the BNF and other guidance: something that, she said, “we can take for granted in the UK”.
Soni suggested that pharmacy schools send representatives from their student cohort to events like FIP: this would, he said, “bring back a lot to their university”. Bennett concurred and said that the Society “could call for students to go free; I’d like to see that”.
Board member Mike Curson agreed, but made the point that “a lot of jobbing pharmacists never get to see these things”, and suggested that local bursaries might help practising pharmacists to attend.
Scott-Thomas said that as the 2018 Medicines Safety Conference would be chaired by Catherine Duggan, chief executive of FIP, there was an opportunity to talk at the conference about pharmacy globally and how Wales fits in.
Mair Davies said the pharmacy Educational Governance Oversight Board (EGOB), which she helped set up as part of her recent secondment as interim director for education, had met for the first time on 27 September 2018. The meeting was hosted by the RPS and held at the Society’s London office.
EGOB is, she said, a precursor to the Pharmaceutical Postgraduate Training Board, which will lead the development of a UK-wide postgraduate training programme for pharmacists. The chief pharmaceutical officers (CPOs) of the UK nations have backed the idea, and at the most recent EGOB meeting Wales was represented by Andrew Evans, chief pharmaceutical officer for Wales, Margaret Allen, director of the Wales Centre for Pharmacy Professional Education and Darrell Baker, service director for pharmacy at NHS Wales.
Choose Pharmacy success
Way said that Choose Pharmacy was now rolled out in 92% of Welsh pharmacies, meaning that the national roll-out is ahead of schedule. By the end of 2018, she said, all pharmacies with the facility to install the Choose Pharmacy application are expected to have it. Way added that a lot of services are now delivered through the application: all pharmacies with access to Choose Pharmacy are using it to provide the flu vaccine service; over 6,000 discharge medicines reviews have been done through it between January and September 2018, inclusive. In September, Way said, 657 emergency supply consultations were carried out via Choose Pharmacy, of which 1,019 items of medication were supplied.
- The date of the next Welsh Pharmacy Board meeting was set for 17 January 2019.