Alex MacKinnon, the Director, Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland has paid tribute to the role pharmacists have played in the success of the NHS as it celebrates its 70th birthday.
“I am proud to mark the platinum jubilee of our most treasured public service – the NHS. Over the past 70 years pharmaceutical advances have significantly enhanced our health service.
“Pharmacists, as the experts in medicines and their safe and effective use, play an increasingly crucial role. The discovery of new medicines has resulted in more treatment options, making them one of the most important interventions. They can help avoid premature death, cure illness and significantly improve the individual’s quality of life. However, medicines can carry risks as well as benefits.
“The persistent focus on safety and person-centred outcomes is the hallmark of any pharmacist. Their impact is demonstrated by the difference they make to patients and our NHS. Working with colleagues across the multi-disciplinary team in health and social care, pharmacists ensure individuals get the most out of their medicines and help reduce avoidable hospital admissions.
“Community pharmacies provide some of the most accessible services within our NHS, and Scotland is starting to benefit from a ‘pharmacy first’ approach so that the public knows when it is best to see their pharmacist. They provide core NHS services and tailored advice on your medicines. Many also offer other services, such as clinics focussed on asthma, blood pressure, COPD, diabetes and travel health. Increasingly, pharmacists work in GP practices, enabling pharmaceutical care for more complex cases within the practice setting. In hospital, pharmacists are on the ward advising patients and physicians on all aspects of medicines.
“With further advances in personalised medicines on the horizon, the public, fellow health professionals and our NHS will see an increasingly visible pharmacy profession at the forefront of healthcare.”