This year’s SNP conference was the biggest and busiest we have seen to date. Everything was scaled up on previous years to allow for the increased numbers of both delegates and lobbyists from all over the UK. RPS has been involved in fringe events at all the major political party conferences over the past few weeks, either participating in panel discussions or hosting debates with politicians and other key stakeholders. The panel for the SNP lunchtime fringe event consisted of the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, Shona Robison MSP, the Minister for Health Improvement and mental Health, Jamie Hepburn MSP and Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Health) Philippa Whitford MP. RPS representatives at the conference were Alex MacKinnon, Director for Scotland, Aileen Bryson, Practice and Policy Lead Scotland and Head of Public Affairs for GB, Charles Willis. The lunchtime fringe provided an opportunity to ask the Minister what plans the Scottish Government have to focus on prevention over the next few years and highlight the role of pharmaceutical public health in both this and in reducing inequalities.
In the evening RPS hosted a reception, which was well attended by many health organisations and delegates. Public Health Minister, Maureen Watt MSP, spent time with the RPS team discussing the contribution the pharmacy profession can make to public health and how innovations in data collection can facilitate tailoring services to areas of highest need to improve patient outcomes.
Following conference season the RPS in Scotland’s focus is now on finalising our manifesto ahead of the Scottish parliament elections on 5 May 2016 and begin our programme of engaging with MSP candidates across the country. If members would like to take a proactive role working with the Scottish team in engaging with candidates, please email Susanne Cameron-Nielsen, Head of External Relations, on [email protected]