Make better use of pharmacists in Scotland, Royal Pharmaceutical Society urges

Pharmacists in Scotland want the profession to better integrate with the rest of the health service both during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a document laying out aims until 2030, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and National Pharmacy Technician Group Scotland (NPTGS) said they want to see pharmacists recognised as medicines’ experts who take the lead on prescribing in all care settings.

This would be convenient for patients, RPS said, but also free up much-needed capacity elsewhere in the NHS.

The society has also called for a single electronic patient record, to be shared across all areas of the health service so patients do not need to repeat themselves to several professionals.

Clare Morrison, Royal Pharmaceutical Society Director for Scotland, said community pharmacists are one of many roles played by pharmacists in the health service.

This would both free up staff time and allow for better and safer care of patients, RPS said.

Director for Scotland Clare Morrison said the pandemic had highlighted the value of pharmacists and pharmacy teams while the health service was under so much pressure, but the sector had the potential to do much more.

“We saw during the Covid pandemic just how much of a contribution pharmacists and pharmacy teams make,” she said.

“But there is potential to do more, and so these roles are building on the roles that we have already rather than starting from scratch. It's very much an extension into really taking leadership of the prescribing of medicines.”

Clare Morrison, Royal Pharmaceutical Society Director for Scotland

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Pharmacists are under as much pressure as the rest of the NHS at the moment, she added, and change is needed to allow them to make better use of their time.

“All health professions are under massive pressure and pharmacy is no exception,” she said.

“I think this is part of the solution. It's about working differently, not more.”

Ms Morrison added: “Change is needed in a planned way, things like making better use of skill mix in the team, improving our systems, and harnessing what the digital world offers, so that we can release capacity and work in a more efficient way.

“That's not working more, it's just making much better use of our time. We’re under pressure partly because we haven’t got the right systems in place just now.”

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