New public health standards: a milestone for pharmacy

Helen Gordonby Helen Gordon, Chief Executive, Royal Pharmaceutical Society

I am delighted to announce that the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has today published Professional Standards for Public Health Practice for Pharmacy.  This is an important milestone for the profession as although public health has been part of the core role of pharmacy practice for many years there have never before been a set of professional standards for the pharmacy profession.

The public health standards will support you and your team

We hope the standards will support you and your team to improve public health services and shape future services and pharmacy roles with public health, regardless of your role and area of practice.  We are pleased that although the standards were developed by the profession the standards are also endorsed and supported by the lead organisations for public health, the Royal Society of Public Health and the Faculty of Public Health, as this enables the profession to demonstrate that they are delivering public health practice that is consistent with other healthcare practitioners delivering public health.

Who are they for?

The standards are intended primarily for use in England and Wales however it is envisaged that elements of the standards will be helpful as the RPS supports the Scottish Government in producing standards and guidance for pharmacists working in the NHS in Scotland aligned to the programme of work associated with Prescription for Excellence, the Scottish Government’s vision and action plan for pharmaceutical care.

Where to begin

We hope you find the standards useful and comprehensive.  They can be used in many different ways depending on your role.

Why not pick one standard to start with and think about how this relates to your own role?  For example, if you are a community pharmacist you might want to start with Standard 4 Health Improvement and consider how you and your team provide advice and information on public health.

You could assess your own practice against the statements in the standards and use this as a starting point to develop yourself and your practice.  Each standard is accompanied by examples in practice which may help with ideas of how you can apply the standards in practice and there are also further helpful resources listed at the end of the document if you require further information.

We want your input

In many ways, publication of the new professional standards is a starting point. We know that further resources and guidance will be needed and we want to hear from you about your experiences of using the standards.  What do you think of the standards, how have you used them to develop your practice and services and, very importantly,  what else do you need to support you with further improvements in public health practice in order to ensure the best outcomes for your patients.

Please contact us at We look forward to hearing from you!

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