Pharmacists must be enabled to expand their professional and clinical services for better patient outcomes.
It is essential to future-proof the supervision arrangements to ensure community pharmacists can provide an expanding range of professional services for patients. This includes regular, planned, and ad hoc patient consultations in consultation rooms within the pharmacy premises and the provision of symptom assessment, advice and/or treatment.
Therefore, patients need access to a pharmacist, and long periods of absence from a pharmacy are undesirable. This must be balanced against provision of the current services which may require an occasional home visit by a pharmacist to ensure a patient is fully involved in decisions about their medicines.
Pharmacists need to be able to make professional decisions to support the best care and outcomes for their patients. It is not possible to plan for every eventuality and professional decision making is a skill, this must be encouraged and supported by robust record keeping.
Successful provision of all professional roles can be achieved through a combination of good skill mix in pharmacies and clear interpretation of the current supervision legislation.
Pharmacists must have the confidence to delegate to pharmacy technicians and other staff according to their skill set and competences underpinned by clear frameworks for establishing competency in pharmacy staff.
Appropriate staffing levels, competencies, and clearly defined processes which trigger appropriate referral to the pharmacist, when necessary, are key to delegation and freeing up time for clinical care achieved by appropriate workforce planning.
This would enable the pharmacist to leave the pharmacy premises for short periods, for example to undertake a home visit, while still being contactable if advice is required urgently using technology. If absences were short and infrequent, this would avoid reduced access to services provided directly by pharmacists.
Therefore, clearer interpretation of legislation around the pharmacist being able to intervene in a medicines or advice supply situation is required.
Workforce planning is needed in each country to ensure continuity of workforce for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians and that staffing levels are of sufficient level to avoid reduction in pharmacy services and face to face access to a pharmacist when desired.