Pharmacy can deliver even more, RPS Scotland advises Parliamentary Committee

Today, Clare Morrison, Director for Scotland at Royal Pharmaceutical Society, provided evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee as part of their Alternative pathways into primary care inquiry.

Pharmacy already provides various alternative pathways into primary care through community pharmacy services, pharmacists working in GP practices, and specialist pharmacy services in community settings.

In today’s evidence session, Clare Morrison highlighted that pharmacists have the ability to deliver more in primary care, but that to realise this, the following needs to happen:

  • There needs to be proper workforce planning for pharmacy teams (in the same way there is for doctors and nurses). This should include investment in more pharmacy technicians and pharmacy support workers who will release pharmacists’ capacity to expand their roles into areas such as: advising on medicines, acting as a first port of call for common clinical conditions and ensuring medicines are safe and effective.
  • Training places for independent prescribing should be expanded, so that by 2030 most pharmacists can prescribe, which will improve quality and accessibility of care for patients.
  • There should be investment in digital technologies such as electronic prescribing and a single shared patient record to improve patient experience, quality, and safety.

During the evidence session, Clare Morrison highlighted a recent Ipsos MORI survey of 1,107 adults in Scotland showing very clear public support for the professional roles of pharmacists:

  • 95% of people support pharmacists advising on medicines.
  • 87% of people think it is important that pharmacists prescribe medicines.
  • 89% of people think pharmacists should be the first port of call for common clinical conditions.
  • 81% think pharmacists should be monitoring, reviewing and adjusting medicine for long term conditions.

Commenting on the evidence session, Clare Morrison said:

“Pharmacy already delivers so much within primary care across a variety of settings, including GP practices, community pharmacies and specialist pharmacy services in community settings.

“Pharmacy teams have the potential to be delivering even more, but to do this, it is vital that there is investment in areas such as independent prescribing, getting the right skill mix across pharmacy teams and introduction of new digital technologies like electronic prescribing and a shared patient record.”