The most recent Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Welsh Pharmacy Board (WPB) meeting took place on 13 October 2016 in Cardiff. Joining the board as RPS member observers were Janet Gilbertson, head of organisational development at Cym Taf University Health Board; Steve Symonds, a representative of the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) in Wales; and Mark Francis, who is currently on secondment as the All Wales medicines procurement specialist pharmacist for the NHS Wales shared services partnership.
At the start of the meeting, RPS president Martin Astbury presented Gilbertson and WPB member Mike Curson with their Faculty awards. Suzanne Scott-Thomas, chair of the WPB, highlighted that over 50% of the board have achieved Faculty membership, in line with a commitment made by the WPB earlier in the year that all board members would become Faculty members.
In the chair and directorate updates, Scott-Thomas and Mair Davies, director for RPS Wales, reflected on their experiences presenting evidence to the Welsh government’s health and well-being committee on 29 September 2016, where, along with representatives from the Royal College of GPs Wales, they gave evidence on the topic of winter pressures. Scott-Thomas and Davies said that they were able to communicate their key messages — including the importance of primary care cluster pharmacists in supporting GP surgeries with winter pressures.
A recording of the meeting can be found on the RPS website.
Scott-Thomas also explained how, since the previous WPB meeting, she had met with Vaughan Gething, the cabinet secretary for health, well-being and sport, and had the chance to challenge him about pharmacists’ access to the electronic record, care homes and workforce issues.
Finally, Davies highlighted the Welsh government’s plans to support the primary care workforce and said that she had received “absolute assurance” that the primary care plan will be sustainable and funded in future. In line with this, Davies understands that the RCGP Wales has said it is “essential” that GPs work with community pharmacists and that this has been identified as a key attractor for GPs working in Wales.
In the policy and consultations update, RPS Wales’s partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society and royal colleges as part of the Welsh Government dementia strategy was acknowledged. The RPS have also agreed with Tim Banner, a consultant pharmacist in community healthcare, that he will work with the Older People’s Commissioner in Wales to audit all care homes for their uptake of the recommendations set out in the RPS Wales care homes document ‘Improving medicines use for care home residents’.
In a session dedicated to information management and technology, the board discussed the ‘Choose Pharmacy’ common ailments scheme, with many on the board commenting that the scheme should be rolled out as a national service, in collaboration with GP services, rather than as a service delivered in isolation.
The board also discussed the launch of the RPS campaign on long-term conditions, which will take place on 3 November 2016 at the 6th Wales Medicines Safety Conference in Cardiff. At the conference, both the over-arching GB vision will be launched, as well as Wales-specific recommendations. England and Scotland will launch their country-specific recommendations later in November.
Confirmed speakers include: Don Berwick, former president of the institute for healthcare improvement at Harvard Medical School; Vaughan Gething; Berwyn Owen, chief pharmacist at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board; Andy McCann, one of the UK’s leading performance and mental skills coaches; Keir Lewis, professor of respiratory medicine at Swansea University; and Frank Atherton, chief medical officer for Wales. RPS Wales is also hoping to secure Sophie Howe, the Future Generations Commissioner.
It was reported that the conference is currently at 50% capacity and the board wants to promote it further to encourage a full turnout. Tickets are available from the RPS website.
The next WPB meeting will be held on 2 February 2017.
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