Today the Royal Pharmaceutical Society is launching a new campaign to improve the care of people with long term conditions through the better use of pharmacists.
An average 1 in 3 people across Great Britain have at least one long term condition. Caring for them accounts for around 50% of GP appointments and approximately 70% of the health and social care budget across the country.
As the third largest health profession in the UK, the skills and expertise of pharmacists must be maximised within the multidisciplinary team to provide the best care for patients. Without changing the model of care, the NHS risks being unable to meet the unprecedented increase in demand for its services.
These new opportunities in clinical practice will enable pharmacists in all sectors to develop new roles.
Today the RPS has published policy documents
that focus on how the role of the pharmacist can be enhanced to prevent, identify, treat and support people with long term conditions, as part of a multidisciplinary approach.
The RPS is making four key calls to action:
1. Pharmacists providing direct patient care should have the opportunity to train to become a prescriber, fully utilising those skills as part of the multidisciplinary approach to managing and supporting people with long term conditions. To enable this change we are asking for the law to change to allow practising prescribing pharmacists to mentor pharmacists who want to become prescribers.
2. The patient journey will be made easier by enabling pharmacists to directly refer to appropriate health and social care professionals, improving patient access to care and reducing the number of unnecessary appointments.
3. Patients will benefit from further integration of pharmacists into their multidisciplinary team, ensuring support at every stage of their journey, from prevention through to treatment and management of their long term condition(s).
4. All pharmacists directly involved in patient care should have full read and write access to the patient health record, with patient consent, in the interest of high quality, safe and effective patient care.
The RPS launches its campaign today in Wales at the 6th Annual Medicines Safety Conference
, where around 200 health professionals and NHS managers will hear the calls to action and recommendations on how these can be achieved. A separate Parliamentary event on the 30th November at the House of Commons will mark the launch in England with further activity in Scotland on 1st December at the RPS Board strategy day.
Commenting on the launch, Suzanne Scott-Thomas, Chair of RPS Wales said:
“I am absolutely delighted with the level of support we have received for this initiative in Wales from within all sectors of the pharmacy profession as well as from other royal colleges and patient groups including the Royal College of General Practitioners in Wales and Macmillan Cancer Care. The challenge of meeting the demands of long term conditions has brought together a coalition of support to move this agenda forward. This policy has been developed to instigate action at national and local levels and marks the start of our commitment to improving care for patients with long term conditions. We look forward to working with our colleagues and translating their support and goodwill into meaningful change for patients and the NHS.”
Sandra Gidley, Chair of RPS England said:
“Community pharmacists in England have had a tough year, with uncertainty replaced by a new reality of reduced funding through the national contractual framework. With this campaign we want to change the terms of the debate about community pharmacy in England. The new role for community pharmacists, supporting people with long term conditions within the heart of the NHS, needs buy in from those across Government and the NHS as well as those who own and work in pharmacies. We will be working hard to make sure those in positions of influence and power both agree with our view, and put in place the necessary resources to make our policy recommendations happen.”
John McAnaw, Chair of RPS Scotland said:
" This campaign gives us a great opportunity to further promote the role of the pharmacist around long term conditions, and clearly outlines what is needed to allow further 'added value' in the delivery of frontline care. Our community pharmacies and pharmacists should have a greater role and profile in the delivery of care to people with long term conditions, and I fully support the recommendations being made. With an increasing number of people now living with a long term condition in Scotland, we already know that the pharmacist's expertise in the use medicines and in supporting self-management strategies can help people achieve the right outcomes from treatment. However more can be done, and if pharmacists are given the right tools, support and access to the clinical information they need they will help maximise patient outcomes. I want to see these recommendations being taken forward in Scotland, and ensure that those people with a long term condition benefit further from the knowledge and expertise their pharmacist can offer as part of the wider care team."