The Royal Pharmaceutical Society recently launched the Scotland-wide campaign entitled Good Care Starts with a Conversation.
It aims to highlight the crucial role pharmacists play in ensuring people get the most out of their medicines.
The campaign encourages two-way dialogue between patients and pharmacists in order to achieve the very best health and quality of life for everyone. It is a simple message and one which Lindsay & Gilmour wholeheartedly supports.
While the campaign themes of listening and questioning are not new, it presents an opportunity to reinvigorate the strive for accessibility and support which sits at the core of community pharmacy practice.
The figures are alarming. One in five adults take more than 5 medicines and for people over 70 this rises to almost 6 in 10 adults. In addition, up to half of all medicines prescribed are not taken as intended. In addition, every year 61,000 emergency hospital admissions are due to medicines, equating to over 1 in 10 of all non-elective hospital admissions. (1)
However, as busy professionals, finding the time and space to really talk to our patients about how well their medication is working for them can often be a challenge. Like many in the healthcare industry, we face constant and conflicting demands on our time.
In addition, we must remember that not everyone is comfortable with the prospect of being asked more questions about their health – a topic which can be very personal and, at times, challenging to explore. This is why Lindsay & Gilmour continues to invest significantly in creating (often multiple) consulting rooms within our pharmacies, which offer patients a safe and private space to discuss any health concerns they may have. But we also know the importance of medicines in preventing premature death, curing illness and improving the quality of life as well as the risks they can sometimes bring.
It is therefore important that all measures are taken to ensure both pharmacists and patients fully understand the need for more robust two-way conversations at every possible intervention.
We MUST continue to put safety and person-centred outcomes at the heart of everything we do and increase patient expectations and understanding of what they should expect from their local community pharmacist.
By holding a privileged role within the communities we serve, pharmacy professionals have a duty to take the time to listen and understand what matters most to their patients.
We look forward to supporting this campaign from the outset and helping to deliver a constantly improving level of patient care in the community.
Philip Galt is the Superintendent Pharmacist at Lindsay and Gilmour.