Supporting pharmacists working in primary care
We are committed to supporting our members, whichever sector of pharmacy you work in. Over the coming few months and years, there will be major structural changes being undertaken within the NHS, and particularly primary care. Find out more information on the consultations on the NHS reforms and what this means for pharmacy.
In our response to the White Paper we stated that:
'All pharmacists currently working in Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) will be affected by the changes proposed in this consultation. The unique skills of these pharmacists must not be lost when PCTs no longer exist. The services that these pharmacists provide are essential for patient care and the containing of NHS resources. Some of the key areas are the management of the prescribing budget and development of prescribing incentive schemes, the procurement of community pharmacy services, the development of Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA) and pharmacy input into the wider commissioning of health services, including public health, across the PCT. We believe that primary care pharmacists must continue to play an active role in the clinical design of local services and patient pathways. The vital role of medicines management to ensure quality and transparency in all commissioning decisions about medicines must be encouraged to continue and develop through local decision making processes. Many of these pharmacists have taken on the role of Accountable Officer (AO) for their organisation. This role ensures the safe management of controlled drugs and ensures patient safety where these particular medicines are concerned. It is not clear how the role of AO will fit into the new NHS Structure and at what level it will sit, it is possible that this role could be undertaken across a number of consortia. As GP consortia take more responsibility they will require this unique set of skills, to be effective, for the public they serve.'
We believe that pharmacists are experts in medicines use and optimisation and we are working with a variety of organisations to help transfer the current skills and roles of primary care pharmacists into the new NHS structures including those delivering specialist pharmacy services and services to prisons.
The English Pharmacy Board wants to establish and understand what is happening on the ground in relation to the emerging new NHS structures in England and how this is affecting colleagues working in the primary care sector. Primary care pharmacy is an essential part of the profession and as your membership organisation we have gathered your thoughts and views via an online survey in October 2011.
Your responses will help the RPS shape and develop support for you during these challenging times.
We also held a small focus group in November 2011 to assist us in establishing more qualitative information about the current situation in primary care.
No one organisation is able to provide a comprehensive and fully coordinated package of support to meet all primary care pharmacists’ needs over the next few years. The RPS is keen to lead and facilitate work to ensure that key development needs are met. Where specification and quality standards for professional medicines management services requiring pharmacist expertise are involved the RPS will take a leading role in the development and delivery of the outputs required. The RPS is exploring the potential to work in collaboration with Pharmacy Management’s new Academy (National Academy for Medicines Optimisation).
The RPS uses, and will continue to use, its influence to brief key external stakeholders such as government, royal colleges etc, on the issues faced by primary care pharmacists and their vital professional input to the NHS. We will continue to lobby for medicines management services to be recognised more visibly in national policy development and guidance.
The RPS mentoring service offers a positive impact on career development, helping to improve your confidence, work performance and interpersonal skills, at any time in your career (both from a mentor and the mentee perspective). Our mentoring service is particularly beneficial if you are seeking support for return to practice following a career break, or wish to change to a different sector of practice or undertake further developments within your own work environment.
Registering is straightforward, firstly visit the mentoring database and complete a form to access a suitable mentor based upon your current or future pharmacy sector(s) and work area(s). Our online mentoring service offers opportunities for you at any stage in your career to offer your services as a mentor, and also gives you the opportunity to access mentors with experience and expertise from all sectors of the profession. Dedicated training days are available to support you if you wish to become a mentor or are currently offering mentorship support to mentees.
For further information please contact RPS Support.
Other organisations that can offer support
The Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists (GHP) promotes the interests of its members who are pharmacists who are employed by the NHS. This includes members working in primary care, secondary care and other NHS bodies. GHP is actively working with members working in primary care supporting them through regional representatives, local meetings, local accredited representatives and full time union officers. Representatives are able to support members with the wide range of employment and contractual issues including changes in employment contracts and redundancy. GHP is part of Unite the Union which is one of the unions recognised for negotiations by the NHS employers. Being part of Unite gives members access to full time union officers who are regionally based and can give regional support with local information. More information can be found on the GHP website. The website is updated regularly with comment from council members. The Unite the Union website also contains helpful information.
Pharmaceutical Advisers’ Group is the representative body of pharmacists employed by NHS Strategic Health Authorities, Primary Care Trusts (England) and Local Health Groups/Trusts (Wales). It provides a consultative link with the main pharmaceutical and related organisations in the NHS and supports the development needs of its members.
Pharmacy Defence Association (PDA) will provide indemnity insurance with pharmacists’ interest at heart and offers various levels of advice. The union can provide advice on all employment issues (particularly around revised terms and conditions, redefining job roles and redundancies). The union also has the legal right to provide a trained union accredited pharmacist representative to accompany members to internal employment grievance and disciplinary meetings. The PDA also has a group for specialist and primary care pharmacists and it is possible to be a PDA union member without having your own indemnity insurance with the PDA. The website for the union is http://www.pda-union.org/ and their main website can be accessed at www.the-pda.org.
Primary Care Pharmacists' Association (PCPA) was established for the benefit of all pharmacists with an active interest in primary care pharmacy. The PCPA and its members are instrumental in the gathering and sharing of best primary care pharmacy practice, and in promoting in the UK the vital role played by primary care pharmacy teams in the health of the nation. The PCPA is a vital help and resource for primary care pharmacy teams everywhere, and contribute to national developments and initiatives, and liaise closely with other leading pharmacy and multidisciplinary professional bodies on all matters of professional interest to primary care pharmacy teams. For more information visit their website.
Primary and Community Care Pharmacy Network (PCCPN) is a UK wide special interest group established to provide peer support, networking and education opportunities to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians supporting safe medicines use in community health settings. This may include support for Community Nurses (Adults and Children), Prisons and secure environments, Macmillan Nurses and Community Hospitals and specialist clinics, as well as collaboration with Social care services. For more information please contact Melanie Dowden (Chairperson) or see our website and discussion group.
National Prescribing Centre is a health service organisation, formed in April 1996 by the Department of Health. Their vision is to be a leading national organisation in the field of medicines use, facilitating developments in policy and providing relevant and valid support on prescribing and medicines management. Their mission is to promote and support high quality, cost-effective prescribing and medicines management across the NHS, to help improve patient care and service delivery. For more information visit their website.
Secure Environment Pharmacists Group (SEPG) is a networking and support group for pharmacists commissioning services or directly providing services to prisons and other secure environments. The group has a broad range of contacts and is involved in a number of development work streams. The group can provide information and advice on opportunities for pharmacists in this sector and signpost to other support networks where appropriate. Visit the group