Pharmacy’s Role in Sustainability Highlighted at Senedd

Pictured from left to right: Meryl Davies, Elen Jones, Jack Sargeant MS and Nicholas Reed by Sophie Baxter Photography. 

RPS Wales have been informing members of the Senedd (MSs) about the action taken by pharmacists to make medicines use more sustainable.

At a ‘drop-in’ session co-hosted with the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, RPS members and staff had the opportunity to speak to a number of MSs from all political parties. With medicines accounting for around 25% of the NHS carbon emissions, conversations were based around the key recommendations to reverse this from the RPS’ policies on sustainability.

The three key themes emphasised in all discussions were:

1. The need to educate the public and change behaviours; particularly the importance of only ordering medicines that are needed, to avoid stockpiling medicines and to speak to a clinician if their circumstances have changed.

2. How the clinical skills of prescribing pharmacists can be used for appropriate de-prescribing and switching patients to low carbon options.

3. The importance of tackling waste - ensuring the public know about the environmental impact of inappropriate disposal of medicines down the sink or toilet and the need for funded recycling schemes via community pharmacies to be in place in all areas.

Reflecting on the conversations, Director of RPS in Wales, Elen Jones said:

It was fantastic to see how interested and engaged the politicians were around these important issues. By the end of our conversations, they all clearly understood and supported the importance of pharmacy leadership in this area, as well as the need for the link between climate change and medicines to be better understood by patients.

“We were also delighted to be joined by AMR specialist pharmacists Nicholas Reed and Meryl Davies who explained to the MSs how a twin approach can be taken to tackle both the climate and antimicrobial resistance crisis, driven by overuse and inappropriate disposal of antibiotics.

“The work doesn’t stop here though! We’ll now be following up with the MSs we met to have more detailed conversations around these crucial issues.”

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