Helping you lead health and care systems

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has today published a new online guide to help pharmacists develop the leadership qualities needed to work at local and regional level across different NHS systems in England.

A systems approach to medicines optimisation and pharmacy provides a route to navigate through the Primary Care Networks (PCNs), Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) which plan and organise the delivery of health and care services in England, and will deliver the NHS Long Term Plan

Aimed at pharmacists already in a leadership role or ready to take their first steps into system leadership, the resource is packed full of practical advice to encourage collaborative working as part of the health and social care team. It provides checklists of the resources, standards and guidance needed to build knowledge and skills, along with case studies of how pharmacists have improved medicines optimisation and patient care. 

A systems approach to medicines optimisation and pharmacy is the outcome of extensive discussions with pharmacists already in system leadership roles to get their insights into how pharmacists and their teams can be integrated into STPs and ICSs to deliver medicines optimisation. It’s divided into sections based on six elements that will help pharmacists to engage with system leadership: Collaborative vision, Culture Change, Digital Maturity, Integrated Governance, Integration into STP priorities and Workforce Development.

Sandra Gidley, Chair of RPS in England, said:

“Having pharmacists in positions of leadership across NHS systems in England is critical to cementing medicines optimisation and patient safety across primary, secondary and tertiary care. This will ensure patients and the NHS get the best value from their medicines.

“The NHS Long Term Plan and GP contract encourage collaborative working with colleagues and other healthcare professionals to meet local population health needs. The challenge going forward is to ensure pharmacists are formally involved in the care systems that will deliver the Plan.

“Pharmacist leaders must identify where in local and regional systems they can work collaboratively and across traditional boundaries to embed pharmacy services and medicines optimisation where they will have the most impact.

“One thing is clear. The Long Term Plan is the only game in town and will be delivered through PCNs, STPs and ICSs. Pharmacists must be part of these systems at leadership level to ensure the future success of the profession at every level of practice.

A systems approach to medicines optimisation and pharmacy is part of our support for members working to improve medicines optimisation. We hope that other pharmacists will contribute their experiences and share good practice in this rapidly changing environment.”

Related resource

Medicines Optimisation


We need your support.


Your dedication and commitment during the pandemic has been exceptional.

As we brace for a surge of coronavirus infections, we know that pharmacy will be at the forefront of delivering healthcare.

Whether it’s flu vaccinations or dealing with local lockdowns we need decisions and assurances from the Government to make sure our profession can cope. We must make sure pharmacists get enough supplies of PPE, rapid access to testing in all care settings, and the recognition you deserve.

You told us that our leadership and resources during in the early months of the pandemic were of critical importance. We are now updating our highly valued COVID-19 resources and training webinars to make sure they reflect current - and changing - guidance.

If the enormous mental and physical strain of the past few months is repeated ahead of this winter, the health service will be on its knees. We will be there to make sure pharmacists get mental health and wellbeing support.

We will continue to work hard to give you the tools and guidance to do your job safely. And fight to make sure you get the recognition you deserve.
We are proud to support you. But without members, none of this will be possible.

Become a member and help us do even more.
Joining costs just 60p a day. And means that, whatever the future holds, we will be here for you, so you can support the public and patients.

Join today to protect the future of pharmacy