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Caring for people living with mental health conditions

RPS Scotland has published a new policy on improving pharmaceutical care for people living with mental health conditions.  It recommends that the expertise, clinical knowledge and accessibility of pharmacists should be better used to support people with mental health conditions to help them live longer and healthier lives.

One in three adults in Scotland experience mental health conditions in their lifetime. People with life-long mental health conditions are likely to die 15-20 years prematurely because of poor physical health, much of which is preventable with improved patient care and risk management. RPS Scotland believes that better use of pharmacy teams, better resourcing of existing services and commissioning of new models of care could improve patient care and help to realise the aims and ambitions of the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Strategy 2017- 2027.

Jonathan Burton, Chair of RPS Scotland and a community pharmacist in Stirling, said: “Pharmacists can play a vital role in providing accessible services to support people’s mental health, not only to help people get the most from their medicines, but also around looking after their general health and wellbeing. Whether it is spotting early signs of mental health conditions, managing long-term conditions, providing expert medicines advice or signposting to other forms of support, pharmacists working across the health service are ideally-placed to ensure people get the help they need.

“There are many great examples of services being provided by pharmacy teams that improve the care of people with mental health conditions. We would like to see more support and increased resource to enable more pharmacy teams to do the same. We are also calling for more mental health specialist pharmacists positions to the meet the gaps in care and to support the development of psychiatric pharmacists liaison roles.

It is crucial that the Scottish Government and the NHS make the most of the pharmacy workforce to support patient care.”

Andrew Walker, Chair of the Mental Health Pharmacy Strategy Group, said: “The Policy represents a challenge and an opportunity for the pharmacy profession to further to support the mental health and well-being of people across Scotland. Pharmacy staff across all sectors can work together to take forward innovative approaches that will enhance the care we provide to people with mental health problems.”

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