Press Release

RPS in Scotland makes recommendations for 2016 election

"Resource and empower pharmacists to provide more patient care", urges the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland in its 2016 manifesto.

Today, the professional body for the pharmacy profession launched its manifesto ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections in May. Entitled "Right Medicine - Better Health - Fitter Future," the manifesto focuses on recognising pharmacists’ expertise in the use of medicines and calls for greater use of pharmacists to deliver better patient care and a more effective NHS. It sets out recommendations to secure a greater clinical role for pharmacists, enable further integration into the NHS and to free up more of the pharmacists’ time to help them to provide more patient care. Recommendations include: giving community pharmacists electronic access to patient records (with patient consent) and providing greater access to electronic prescribing. In terms of patient services, it specifically calls for:

• Integration of pharmacists into emerging health hubs.
• Positioning of pharmacists at the point of admission to hospital.
• Integrating a dedicated pharmacist role into care homes and aligning one community pharmacy and one GP practice to each care home.
• Implementing the recommendations in the recent out-of-hours report on the future contribution of community pharmacy.

In order to build future resilience in the population around health and medicines, the manifesto also proposes that health literacy become an integral part of Curriculum for Excellence. Everyone should gain an understanding of their health and the role medicines play in supporting it from a young age.

Dr John McAnaw, Chair of the Scottish Pharmacy Board of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: “I think the numbers we report here for Scotland speak for themselves. Scotland needs to fully utilise the expertise of pharmacists to ensure people get the best out of their medicines. As the professional body for pharmacists, we are proposing some key initiatives that we believe will make a real difference to patient care, both in supporting patient self-management and in reducing the risk of adverse events from medicines.

“Pharmacists work hard every day to support the public and patients and we believe they should be freed up to do what they do best - using their expertise in medicines use for the benefit of patients. We were surprised to find that more than a third of respondents to our survey spent the equivalent of more than a full working day on administrative tasks each week – time that could have been spent on direct patient-facing care. Similarly we were concerned that more than 10% were spending more than 8 hours a week outside of their working hours on administrative tasks. We are therefore calling for more support in the technical and administrative aspects of the pharmacy workload to help maximise pharmacists’ clinical role in the NHS.

“The challenges facing the NHS as we move forward mean that it is vital we empower all health professionals to practice to the top of their licence now. That is why we are calling for protected learning time for all pharmacists and a single integrated vocational training programme for all newly qualified pharmacists, similar to the junior doctor rotational model which is based on workplace assessment opportunities across all sectors. We are also calling for experienced pharmacist independent prescribers to be allowed to become designated practitioners. This would enable them to mentor/supervise other pharmacists through an independent prescribing course, thus building capacity more easily across the profession.”