by Dr Terry Maguire, Honorary RPS Member, Owner Maguire Pharmacy, Belfast, and stream chair at the RPS Annual Conference 2015
Everyone has great ideas. Problems and frustrations stimulate us to come up with innovative solutions and better ways of doing things and it is generally the ideas of practitioners – those working at the coal face and who really understand the systems – which are more likely to be effective solutions. But how does the practitioner faced with a problem, frustrated with a system, and in possession of a great idea, transform that idea into a service and then to a main-streamed practice innovation that creates benefits for both patients and the Health Service?
I am Terry Maguire and I am a community pharmacist working in Belfast. Over my 30 years in practice this concept has intrigued me. More intriguing, for me, is why the existing culture within the profession and the Health Service, generally destroys innovative ideas in their infancy, keeping and maintaining the status quo. This flip side of innovation is due to perceived risks inherent in change. Everyone wants change for the better but if you are accountable – a manager for example – then you view change in terms of risk and when the risks always seem to outweigh the benefits, you are often reluctant to take these risks.
At this year’s RPS Annual Conference taking place from 13-14 September in Birmingham I will chair three sessions which I hope will address this theme. I want a focus on pharmacy practice innovation. Hearing from those who have done it; taken an idea and brought it to main stream practice, I hope to explore this area and allow all who attend to appreciate what is needed for the individual to make a real difference, to innovate in professional practice and as a result to add benefits to our patients.
Three key areas of practice will be covered; public health pharmacy, self-care and medicines optimization. Smoking cessation services provide, for example, a good template by which an aspiration of the profession to offer an effective smoking cessation service has been brought from idea through to development and piloting reality so that now smoking cessation is a commissioned service that the profession is proud of. Again, creating a minor ailments service to support self-care has been a struggle but we are getting there. How pharmacists can work effectively with social enterprises as these bodies become more relevant and important to health and social care will also be considered.
Central to these service innovations, I believe, is a process that all pharmacists need to appreciate as we are all potential service innovators.
I sincerely hope you can join me and take part in the discussion.
The Early Bird deadline for the RPS Annual Conference 2015 is 28 June. Book your place today to save £50 on the cost of a weekend member ticket.