Minister welcomes pharmacy leadership on antimicrobial resistance

Speaking at the RPS Annual Conference, Steve Brine MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care, welcomed the launch of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s new campaign to promote antimicrobial stewardship and set out his ambition to ensure a vibrant future for pharmacy.

During his speech he highlighted pharmacists’ important contribution to combatting antimicrobial resistance, including through advice on reducing inappropriate use of antimicrobials.

Reflecting on the increasing pressure on the NHS workforce, he said he was determined to make more effective use of “the tremendous skills and knowledge” of pharmacists and pharmacy teams. He noted that the breadth of his ministerial responsibilities meant that he would be able to work across traditional boundaries and “improve the integration of pharmacy – not only into primary care, but also into public health pathways”.

He welcomed initiatives to embed pharmacists in GP practices and other settings, adding that evaluation of the Pharmacy Integration Fund evaluation as well as the recommendations of the Murray Review would help shape the Government’s efforts to optimise the skills of pharmacists and pharmacy teams. He also acknowledged that the Government should make more of what community pharmacy has to offer, including its potential for improving the care of patients with long term conditions and supporting public health.

The Minister commented on the important role that pharmacists play across the health care system – in hospitals and in primary care – to optimising the use of medicines and ensuring patients are engaged in the process by their clinical team.

He noted that the Secretary of State for Health was working with the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer in NHS England to tackle the challenge of prescribing and medication errors, recognising the leadership role of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and others.

On the subject of inadvertent dispensing errors, Mr Brine said he shared frustrations with the delays to addressing the imbalance between criminal sanctions and professional regulation, adding that he was “committed to seeing the legislation laid”. He noted that he was “similarly committed to commencing consultation on an equivalent set of provisions for hospital pharmacy professionals."

He concluded by re-affirming the Government’s commitment to work with the profession and draw on its expertise, helping enable “a vibrant future for pharmacy, with the delivery of safe and effective professional services at the core”.

You can read the speech in full here.