A short-life working group has produced a draft document which outlines the requirements and expectations of consultant pharmacists working in the NHS, including the steps involved in creating consultant pharmacist posts and the level of attainment expected of those wishing to work as consultant pharmacists. The document is intended as a guide for those wishing to create consultant pharmacist posts, those who are seeking to become a consultant pharmacist or anyone wishing to understand the role and expectations of consultant pharmacists working in the NHS.
The draft document highlights the need for a refresh of the current guidance in this area;
“There is a recognised need for increased clinical pharmacy and medicines focussed leadership across healthcare systems. Consultant pharmacists have the expertise, knowledge and skills to support this to produce better outcomes both for patients with the most complex needs as well as the wider population. To enable the further development of consultant pharmacist posts robust processes are needed to ensure consistency across roles and to provide assurance as to the competence of individuals. These processes will help enable the appropriate deployment of consultant pharmacists which will, in turn, support better outcomes from treatment for patients, the public and the NHS.
“A consultant pharmacist is a clinical expert working at a senior level, delivering care for patients and driving change across the healthcare system. The title of consultant pharmacist was recognised in the NHS in 2005 with the publication of the Department of Health document “Guidance for the Development of Consultant Pharmacist Posts”, this updated guideline has been written to consolidate the original guidance and drive the further development of these important posts.
“In order to assure an appropriate level of practice and consistency across all specialities and geographies consultant pharmacist posts will continue to be approved by a sustainable robust independent process. The post-approval process will consider the level of practice expected of the post holder, the proposed impact across the healthcare system and will consider succession planning as well as the arrangements for management, supervision and job planning.
“Consultant pharmacists are required to work across the four pillars of clinical practice, leadership, research and education, undertaking activities that use their extensive, expert knowledge and skills to contribute to the health of individuals and the population. It is recognised that the activities that individuals undertake within their post along with the amount of time allocated to each of the pillars of practice will vary. This is dependent on a number of factors including organisational, local, and national priorities. It is the level and impact of activity that requires consistency across roles. Robust job planning processes are key to maximising the output of consultant pharmacists and must be undertaken regularly.
“Individuals wishing to be appointed as a consultant pharmacist will be required to have developed and been practicing at the appropriate level of expertise. To achieve this requires support, in the form of appropriate clinical and educational supervision and educational opportunities across the four pillars of practice.
“In order to provide assurance to patients, the public and employers as to the level of expertise of clinicians working at the most senior level in our profession an independent, robust credentialing process is required. This process will provide parity with other professional groups and support the maintenance of confidence and credibility in the role. The assessment, which will be made against the advanced pharmacy framework, will review an individual’s expertise across the four pillars of practice and will have the input of a range of experts.”