Press Release

Scottish Chair urges pharmacists to safeguard their professionalism

The Chairman of the Scottish Pharmacy Board of the RPS, Dr John McAnaw, says pharmacists need to focus on safeguarding their professionalism as a range of pressures bear down on them and on the services they provide in what he says seems to be a constantly changing environment.
Dr McAnaw is telling the annual Pharmacy Management Forum in Scotland, being held in Dunblane today (Wednesday 24 August 2016), that it is only through the professionalism and commitment of pharmacists that the people of Scotland continue to benefit from the unique contribution they make to patient care.
In his keynote speech, alongside Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, he says Scotland’s pharmacists have a pivotal role to play in the drive for a stronger and more integrated approach to patient care at a local level, and the delivery of Realistic Medicine. But, he says, there is also an acknowledgement that they will need the right support and working environment to fulfil their professional duties in times of change.
Dr McAnaw says Scotland’s 4,300 pharmacists are more involved than ever before in day to day decisions about medicines in communities, primary care and hospitals. And, he says, there is a need for the public as well as health and social care professionals to gain an increased understanding of their role as qualified professionals:
“A pharmacist’s training, expertise and specialist knowledge can improve patient care. Working with other health and social care colleagues, pharmacists will ensure people get the right medicine, at the right dose and at the right time to achieve the best response from treatment.
“There needs to be increasing recognition of the role pharmacists can play in Scotland’s health service, managing increasingly complex medicines issues on a day-to-day basis. To fully utilise the full breadth of their skills as medicines experts, they need to be able to practice as an integrated part of the healthcare team with the right support being made available to them. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society as the professional body in Scotland plays a key role here in the production of professional standards and guidance, as well as providing individual support to pharmacists when required. In our manifesto this year, we called for protected learning time for all pharmacists and appropriate resourcing of new and extended roles, both of which will support the continued competence and professionalism of our pharmacy workforce.
“I am convinced that, as Scotland leads the way in integrating so many aspects of health and social care, we can work across the professional boundaries more for the greater benefit of patients and the public. This may also help other colleagues get the most out of their part of caring for patients.”
The central role of pharmacy in improving clinical decision making to try to ensure that the care people receive is of the greatest value to them as individuals is being acknowledged at today’s event by Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood:
“Pharmacists have a huge role to play as improvers and innovators in, for instance, reducing the burden, waste and potential harm of polypharmacy. They are often the first professional a patient turns to in the community and, through initiatives like the Minor Ailment Service, not only offer an alternative to a GP visit, but also can spot the signs when something may be more serious.

“The profession also has a pivotal role in community and hospital settings in addressing the increased use of medicines to treat risk as opposed to treating illness. We need to continue to listen to the strong voice of pharmacists in assessing the value of medicines to patients based on whether they deliver the outcomes patients want.”