Every health and care profession, every health service provider and every government has been influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has caused everyone to reflect on whether the strategic directions set five or 10 years ago are still right for a post-pandemic future. Pharmacy is no different: it feels like the right time to set out a new professional vision, building on what has been developed previously to create something that describes the new future.
Describing a vision for the future is challenging: some pharmacy teams are already pushing boundaries and delivering care that for others seems a distant dream. What this vision recognises is that everyone is on a journey, and it aims to support all of pharmacy to move forward to a new level of professional practice. It is an evolution from where we are now, not a revolution.
The future of pharmacy
By 2030, the traditional boundaries between pharmacy sectors will be broken down. Pharmacy teams will work together, both within pharmacy and with the wider multidisciplinary team, to deliver seamless care for patients.
Pharmacy teams will take a person-centred approach and care will be provided holistically rather than by clinical condition. They will ensure high quality, safe, effective, cost-effective and sustainable prescribing in all settings. In addition, they will drive high standards of medicines governance, and ensure every aspect of prescribing and dispensing processes are effective and efficient.
For pharmacists, this will mean being recognised as medicines experts who take leadership of prescribing in all care settings and who optimise therapeutic outcomes for individual patients. There will be a shift away from checking other professionals’ work towards pharmacists having a clinical, prescribing role to manage the care of individual patients. Pharmacy technicians will lead medicines management processes, both in technical roles focused on the safe and efficient supply of medicines, and in patient-facing roles to support patients’ use of medicines.
The breaking down of boundaries between pharmacy sectors will be demonstrated through two key shifts. The first is that seamless patient care will be standard. As a patient moves between care settings, such as at hospital discharge, pharmacy teams will work together to ensure patients’ medicines-related care is supported and to avoid duplication of tasks in the patient’s journey. The second shift is that pharmacy will be more dynamic. Many pharmacy professionals are now actively seeking a portfolio career, working across different sectors. By 2030, a core generalist role for both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will be developed to enable this flexible portfolio working.
This change will be driven by digital and technology developments to enable whole-team working, and clear pathways of professional development which apply to all sectors of pharmacy.
“Pharmacy will work together with patients and the multidisciplinary team, using their expertise to make the best use of medicines”