The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS’s) Welsh Pharmacy Board meeting was held over Zoom on 8 October 2020. Board members were joined by Elen Jones, RPS director for Wales; Paul Bennett, RPS chief executive; Sandra Gidley, president of the RPS; Jonathan Lloyd Jones, RPS Wales policy and engagement lead; Iwan Hughes, RPS Wales public affairs and policy executive; Hanna Jenvey, RPS events and sponsorship manager; Amandeep Doll, RPS inclusion and diversity co-ordinator; Gino Martini, RPS chief scientist, and Gail Fleming, RPS director for education and professional development.
Apologies were received from board members Jamie Hayes and Adam Mackridge.
RPS new normal
Jonathan Lloyd Jones said that a short life working group (SLWG) on independent prescribing (IP), with representation from all of the national pharmacy boards, had most recently met on 1 October 2020. As set out in ‘The future of pharmacy in a sustainable NHS’, the RPS is calling for all patient-facing pharmacists to be supported to become independent prescribers.
Lloyd Jones said member feedback had shown a number of opportunities for the RPS to support pharmacists with this ambition. In the short term, the Society could promote successful IP pharmacists, both to members and to commissioning groups, as some members felt that there was a lack of promotion of current pharmacist IP services. In the more medium term, the RPS could look at developing a scope of practice and ongoing competence, which is, he said, done on a personal level at the moment. It was felt by some members that a framework, including a competency assessment, would be valuable.
Board member Rob Davies said that a system for logging expanding competence “will be really useful”, adding that it would be great if the RPS “can assist practitioners in doing this”.
The SLWG is preparing its report now, with actions to follow, Lloyd Jones said.
An updated manifesto for the May 2021 Welsh government elections has been prepared, which takes into account learnings from COVID-19 and emphasises the need for NHS-funded mental health and wellbeing services for pharmacists: both during the pandemic and beyond. Engagement on the manifesto has continued through the pandemic and the next steps, Iwan Hughes said, were to meet face-to-face or virtually with political parties, presenting “firm data and evidence behind what we are calling for”. Additionally, a toolkit for members will be produced with tips on how to engage local candidates with the manifesto asks; this will most likely be published closer to the new year.
It was suggested by Elen Jones that the toolkit could make for a good local engagement event. The suggestion was met with general agreement, and so it was agreed that this option would be explored further.
Science and research update
Gino Martini said the science and research team was “scanning the environment” for data regarding COVID-19, with 1000 pieces of information processed to date. This, he said, helps the Society to keep members informed and up to date.
The RPS has relaunched an Industrial Pharmacy Advisory Group, open to industrial pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists who are RPS members, Martini said. Most recently, the industrial pharmacy team had been run as a forum chaired by Sue Kilby. A new chair for the relaunched group is being recruited, as Kilby is stepping down but will remain in the group.
Martini also noted that a new chair would be recruited for the Science and Research Committee, as current chair Christine Bond’s term comes to an end at the end of the year.
A vaccines toolkit has been prepared and made available to RPS members on PDF. The toolkit, Martini said, documents all storage conditions for vaccines that the UK government has ordered: a collection of information that “doesn’t exist anywhere else”.
- The date of the next Welsh Pharmacy Board meeting was scheduled for 3 February 2021.