We were pleased to give evidence to the Finance Committee of the Scottish Parliament earlier this week after submitting written evidence
on the need for progress on prevention last year.
Our submission highlighted the success in treatment, particularly in LTCs, but also stated that there was still too little focus on prevention and public health. We highlighted the need for more pharmaceutical care and pharmaceutical public health in line with the findings from the Wilson and Barber review. We outlined the opportunities for prevention within health and social care integration and the need to integrate pharmaceutical care into the new community health hubs with pharmaceutical care plans as working documents to tailor services to local needs. We also emphasised the requirement to resource new ways of working which reward pharmaceutical care and mentioned that one single patient record would be a requirement as we go forward.
RPS in Scotland was invited along with RCN, The Alliance and representatives from the justice, academia, think tanks and the third sector. The session was divided into three sections, firstly progress on prevention, then challenges in prevention and lastly solutions.
Despite the variety of backgrounds around the table there were similar themes emerging around lack of sustainability with short term funding being the norm, the need to have a clear vision of the intended goals, to increase collaborative working, and to have pragmatic indicators of progress along the way while not overly burdening practitioners on the ground with bureaucracy.
While the context was very broad brush and high level there was opportunity for RPS in Scotland to highlight how it would be possible to improve outcomes including:
- “Safer use if medicines “agenda to reduce unplanned admissions to hospital and the need to have expertise of a pharmacist in the right place in the NHS system, wherever there are medicines and patients.
- Public health data from our specialist public health pharmacists, which could support tailoring resources to places where local need is greatest.
- Implementing recommendations in RPS in Scotland’s manifesto “Right Medicine – Better Health – Fitter Future”, which outlines where there are gaps in the system which need the expertise of a pharmacist.
- Review of the minor ailments service to make community pharmacy first port of call for everyone.
- Health literacy from a young age to encourage understanding of the NHS.
- Improved referral systems and clinical handover arrangements.
The committee will report its findings in a few weeks time.