The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) Scottish Pharmacy Board (SPB) met for the second time in 2018 on 25 April, at the Society’s Edinburgh office. Joining by video link were Paul Bennett, chief executive of the RPS and Christopher John, the Society’s head of workforce development. Visiting in person were Ash Soni, president of the RPS; Gino Martini, the Society’s chief scientist; and Colin Cable, assistant chief scientist.
Alex MacKinnon, RPS director for Scotland, said that dates had been set for the first series of revalidation roadshows, some of which would be delivered jointly with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).
Seven of the SPB’s manifesto intentions were delivered in 2017, and it is now advocating for those that remain. The board continues to push for better resourcing of the pharmacy profession, access and input into the electronic patient record with diagnosis, protected learning time for pharmacists, and integration of dedicated pharmacists in care homes.
In 2017, RPS Scotland was called to give evidence to the Parliamentary Health and Sport Committee on six occasions: a result described by MacKinnon as one of the society’s “biggest successes” of that year. The Society is working as part of the Primary Care Clinical Professionals Group to ensure that this body of 17 members becomes a “powerful political advocacy force for better integrated working”, and is planning for a joint event in the Scottish parliament later this year.
Policy and consultation responses
Aileen Bryson, RPS Scotland practice and policy lead, presented a final draft policy paper on pharmacist independent prescribers (PIPs). It states that experienced PIPs, or other experienced non-medical prescribers, should be able to supervise trainee PIPs in the capacity of designated practitioner.
Bryson also presented a draft paper titled ‘Working with pharmacists in GP practice — top tips’, which, she said, should be read alongside the joint statement from RPS Scotland and the Royal College of General Practitioners Scotland on general-practice-based pharmacists. The text, written for GPs, aims to give practical advice on the introduction of a pharmacist to the GP team. Board member John Cromarty responded that the text as it stands focuses too much “on differences between GPs and pharmacists”, and recommended that complementary skills be emphasised instead.
Public affairs and advocacy in the first quarter of 2017 included meetings with members of the Scottish parliament (MSPs) Lewis MacDonald, Annie Wells and David Stewart. Written evidence has been submitted to the Health and Sport Committee evidence session on substance misuse. A meeting with Anas Sarwar, MSP, was due to be taking place in late April.
John told the board that an analysis of responses to the Society’s recent consulation on the role of the pharmacist is underway. An updated statement should be ready in time for the next board meeting, he added.
John met the GPhC’s Education Advisory Group on 6 April 2018, together with Ian Bates, professor of pharmacy education at University College London’s School of Pharmacy, and education adviser to the English Pharmacy Board. A GPhC consultation on revised initial education and training standards for pharmacists will take place later this year, John said, and the regulatory body is also currently consulting on education and training standards for pharmacist independent prescribers.
In a written response to Health Education England’s consultation ‘Facing the facts, shaping the Future: a draft health and care workforce strategy for England to 2027’, John said the RPS recommended the implementation of a UK-wide Pharmacy Foundation Programme. This recommendation had come from the RPS Task and Finish Group on Career Frameworks and Continuing Professional Development, led by Peter Kopelman, chair of the Society’s Faculty and Education Board (FEB). Educational governance and accreditation of this programme would be arranged with the RPS and other bodies, including universities, NHS education and training structures, and the General Pharmaceutical Council. A UK joint postgraduate pharmacy training board, hosted and stewarded by the RPS, will be established.
To take this programme forward, a subcommittee of the Task and Finish group, led by Bates, will be established and will report to the FEB. Significant progress towards the development of the proposed programme should be made by September 2018.
Science and research
Martini and Cable respectively, briefed the board on activities of the Society’s science team, which also includes deputy chief scientist, Claire Thompson. Highlights of the last few months include an interview with Dame Sally Davies, published in The Pharmaceutical Journal; publication of a quick reference guide (QRG) to new psychoactive substances, and formation of the RPS journal club webinar series — the first of which was hosted by Christine Bond, chair of the Science and Research Board. Plans for the rest of the year include a QRG on sunscreen; a presentation by Thompson at the ‘Women in Leadership: Survive and Thrive’ event, scheduled for 27 June 2018 at the RPS London office, and the next Winter Summit, planned for early 2019.
International Pharmaceutical Federation
Updating on developments on International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) conference planning, MacKinnon said that the chief pharmaceutical officer’s international summit programme had been agreed and would include discussions on medicines regulation, affordable medicine, intellectual property and public health, and the impact of monopoly culture. Soni said that more than 1000 abstracts had now been submitted for the FIP conference — a figure he described as a “record number”.
Finally, the SPB noted that this was the last meeting in which John Cromarty and Elaine Thomson would be in attendance. David Thomson, who was not in attendance, is also leaving the board. The departing board members were thanked by the chair for their service, and Thompson was additionally thanked for his service on the assembly.
The date of the next SPB meeting was set for 4 July 2018.