16/11/2012 - Put pharmacy at the heart of care plans for chronic conditions, RPS tells Welsh politicians
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales has called for the integration of community pharmacy into a coordinated service for chronic conditions management, to ensure the best possible care for people living with chronic conditions, including diabetes.
Giving evidence to members of the National Assembly for Wales’ Health and Social Care Committee, RPS Director for Wales, Paul Gimson, and Chair of the Welsh Pharmacy Board, Mair Davies, outlined the critical role that pharmacists play in the prevention, early diagnosis and management of diabetes.
“Pharmacists can make a huge difference to patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes,” says Gimson. “While we welcome the Committee’s increased focus on the management of diabetes, we feel opportunities have been missed in harnessing the skills of pharmacists to provide better care for patients. The Committee’s recent inquiry into community pharmacy concluded that pharmacists have a unique penetration into local communities and recommended an enhanced role for pharmacy in joined-up patient services. We urge the Welsh Government to put these recommendations into practice, and create a chronic conditions service which fully integrates pharmacy services”.
The RPS was asked to submit evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee’s inquiry into the implementation of the National Service Framework for Diabetes. The RPS submission to the inquiry pointed out that pharmacists are ideally placed to raise awareness of diabetes and signpost people who may be at risk to their GPs. They play an important role in health promotion and preventing the onset of diabetes through helping patients adopt healthy lifestyles and manage their health conditions more effectively. As experts in medicines, they are uniquely positioned to help patients review the effectiveness of their medications and ensure that they are taking the best and safest possible treatments.
An estimated one in twenty hospital admissions occur as a result of problems with medication and many of these involve patients living with long-term, or chronic, conditions such as diabetes. The RPS stated that many of these admissions could be avoided with a seamless integrated system of care that uses the expertise of pharmacists to help patients manage their medicines.
The RPS called for pharmacists to have appropriate access and input to a patient’s individual healthcare records, in order that they can best help to reduce prescribing errors and wasted medicines, lower costs and ensure continuity of shared care in the community and in hospital settings. The organisation urged the Committee to recommend to the Welsh Government to resource pharmacy services adequately, ensuring pharmacy becomes an integral part of the diabetes care pathway and contributing to better diabetes care in Wales.