We have published our written evidence to Scottish Labour’s NHS and Social Care Workforce Commission, chaired by Anas Sarwar, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing.
On 2 July we also provided oral evidence to the Commissioners alongside Scottish Care and The Royal College of Midwives.
Aileen Bryson, Deputy Director and Practice & Policy Lead, highlighted the areas where more pharmacy resource is required across all sectors of the profession to realise the potential pharmacists have in further minimising harm and contributing to patient care wherever they are practising.
Topics covered included:
- The challenges to the workforce with changing dynamics with movement of both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to other sectors and portfolio working. We emphasised the need for a clear vision on the pharmacist roles required to inform workforce planning.
- The increasing volume of prescription numbers over the past decade, which does not correlate to a major change in ways of working and how this can lead to increased stress levels unless skill mix and staffing are correct.
- The recent inclusion of inadequate staffing levels in the top 5 reasons for failing the General Pharmaceutical Council inspections in registered pharmacies.
- The recognition that the pharmacist has a clinical role and the requirement for more pharmacy technicians in all sectors and how this would free up more pharmacist time for patient care.
- The expertise available in community pharmacy teams and how this needs to be capitalised on to reduce demand in out of hours services, GP appointments and positively impact on prevention and public health.
- The need for extra resource to implement 7 day working in hospital, outlining the impact of not having additional resourcing on Monday to Friday clinical services.
- The requirement for a dedicated role for pharmacists in care homes, which are more like mini hospitals with residents who would have been in geriatric words in previous years. Stressing that the resourcing is currently not there to adequately address this.
- The lack of clinical input to prison pharmacy where there could be positive impact on supporting people with long term conditions.
There were manty common themes with the presentation from Scottish Care who were supportive of the central role pharmacists play wherever there are medicines in our healthcare systems. They too outlined how the quality of life for residents can be improved by regular medication review and the expertise of pharmacists.
The Commission is continuing its evidence gathering. It will in due course produce a report with recommendations for Scottish Labour policy.