The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Scotland manifesto for the Scottish Parliament 2021 elections, The Future of Pharmacy in Scotland, was published in October 2020 — but work to develop our main asks began back in 2019. In that year, we held a number of events and discussions, and listened to our members, the profession and other pharmacy organisations. Using the information we gathered, we have put together a list of asks for political parties that we believe will help deliver a quality pharmacy service.
Pharmacy is at the forefront of healthcare in Scotland. It is vital that pharmacy teams get the support they need to enable them to provide the people of Scotland with access to expert medicine and healthcare advice, where and when they need it.
The eight asks in the manifesto are:
- Ensure that IT systems across health and social care are interoperable with one another;
- Ensure time for learning and development is available for all pharmacists across all sectors to support workforce development and ensure pharmacists can deliver services safely;
- Enable read and write access to a full and integrated electronic patient record for pharmacists in all care settings;
- Ensure that all pharmacy teams providing NHS services, including in the community pharmacy setting, are recognised and valued as key workers;
- Involve pharmacists and their teams in identifying and delivering solutions for reducing health inequalities;
- Promote and invest in the pharmacy profession as an attractive career choice;
- Promote and enhance the role of pharmacy teams in primary care vaccination and immunisation services;
- Fully fund and resource pharmacy to provide seven-day clinical services to meet the needs of patients and support the multidisciplinary team in hospitals.
Several of our asks call for improvements to the infrastructure for pharmacists and their teams, but there is also a focus on enabling pharmacists to contribute their skills to improving the health of our people. There are many examples of pharmacy teams providing services that address health inequalities, for example, and we would like to see more involvement of pharmacists in setting health policy, alongside support to enable these services to continue and be disseminated in other communities, where they would be beneficial. Pharmacy has a lot to offer and we would like to see the next Scottish government embrace and use its expertise more.
Having published the manifesto, the next stage is to use it to advocate on behalf of the profession. Our work up to the election in May 2021 will include lobbying potential candidates and working with members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and each political party’s manifesto team to make sure pharmacy is high up on the political agenda.
Party manifestos will not be published until much closer to the election, so we will continue to advocate for pharmacy and encourage parties to include supporting the profession in their own manifestos.
With almost a fifth of current MSPs standing down at the election, there will be a lot of change within the make-up of the Scottish Parliament after May 2021.This affords a number of challenges and opportunities for RPS Scotland. Following on from the election, our focus will be on building relationships with new MSPs, continuing to lobby on our manifesto asks and raising awareness of the valuable role of pharmacy. Over the next 12 months and beyond, the public affairs team at RPS will be working hard to ensure pharmacy gets the support and recognition it needs to enable teams to continue to provide high-quality care and advice to those who need it.
To keep up to date with RPS Scotland’s election activities, follow #votepharmacy on Twitter.