THERE is a frequently stated myth that pharmacy has too many representative bodies when compared with other professions. In fact this is not actually true, but what creates this perception is that the pharmacy choir are often not singing from the same song sheet.
Pharmacists, other healthcare professionals and government officials often observe that medics speak as one, particularly when threatened with change and funding reductions. This is probably true, but that’s because the plethora of bodies representing medics generally talk to each other before they act or speak, something our profession sometimes fails to do.
Collaborative working should be joined-up across all sectors of pharmacy and other health care professions and recognise that we are all clinicians, some generalist, some specialist. Working together as a virtual pharmacy team with the person/patient at the centre of everything we do and abandoning historical hierarchical views (sometimes it seems like that Two Ronnies sketch with John Cleese) we could achieve much for the profession and hence for patients.
We must leverage the accessibility of community pharmacy and grow the role of the whole profession wherever they practise within the health and public health systems and thus create a profession to be proud of and a sustainable future for the community sector who have invested heavily in their premises and people.
To achieve this, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), Pharmacy Voice, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Ccommittee (PSNC), and the negotiating and representative bodies in the devolved countries, must work together on initiatives with governments, the NHS and other healthcare profesisonals from the outset. We must drop the competition for kudos and being ‘first to market’ or ‘first in the media’ and focus on the end in mind – a strong profession, a sustainable future for all and a population that lives well for longer.
I accept that this nirvana is difficult to achieve with a wide range of disciplines and areas of practise within the one profession, but just because its hard to do doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try? On Twitter I have recently adopted the #oneprofession hashtag to illustrate my passion and determination to create a momentum for this collaborative environment. We all need to make this happen – stronger together!
Michael Holden is principal consultant at MH Associates and a fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society
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