PHARMACISTS needed to focus on safeguarding their professionalism as a range of pressures bear down on them, and on the services they provide, in what was a constantly changing environment, Dr John McAnaw, chair of the RPS Scotland board, told delegates at the Pharmacy Management Forum in Dunblane, today.
In his keynote speech, alongside Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, he said Scotland’s pharmacists had 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, there was an acknowledgement that they will need the right support and working environment to fulfil their professional duties in times of change.
Dr McAnaw said that Scotland’s 4,300 pharmacists were more involved than ever before in day-to-day decisions about medicines in communities, primary care and hospitals. And, he said, there was 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.”