Defining the role for pharmacy within person-centred care for vulnerable groups

Claire Anderson copy[1]By Claire Anderson, Vice Chair of the English Pharmacy Board for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

The health and strength of a society can be measured by how well it cares for its most vulnerable members, older people, those with mental health conditions, those with learning disabilities and children and young people. There remain large inequalities in the care, including pharmaceutical care, of these groups.

The NHS Five Year Forward View calls for greater integration of health and social care services and for care to be delivered closer to people’s homes. Pharmacists, working in the heart of the community, are ideally placed to work with other members of the multidisciplinary team to care for vulnerable people at home and in care homes.

The RPS is seeking to identify opportunities for pharmacy to be included within integrated services where they can improve patient care and ease pressures on other areas of the NHS.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s joint conference with the King’s Fund next month (February 24) aims to explore some of these opportunities through the developing role of pharmacy in supporting higher quality healthcare services for vulnerable people.

Improving access to good quality services for older people in care homes, people living with learning disabilities or poor mental health and children and young people will all be presented at tailored conference sessions. Models of care will be reviewed and practice experience shared.

The conference will provide opportunities to discuss and debate how commissioning plans that aim to address vulnerable groups can make the best use of pharmacy. It will envision how some of these reformed models of provision could look.

Is it time that domiciliary pharmacy visits to carry out clinical medicine reviews were commissioned? Are we doing enough to balance the risks and benefits of using multiple medicines in people ageing with learning difficulties? How can we minimise underutilisation of medicine related services among patients with learning difficulties? How do we make sure children with long term health needs receive great care when discharged from hospitals? Basically how do we ensure the most vulnerable people in society are given the care that they deserve? These are the questions that the conference will address.

Pharmacy needs to be involved in designing better care as well as delivering it. We also need to innovate and grasp opportunities as they arise. Our conference with the King’s Fund next month will explore opportunities for pharmacists within new care models to offer the greatest benefit to patients.

To purchase 20% discounted tickets for the conference, Commissioning person-centred care for vulnerable groups, what role does pharmacy play? go to the King’s Fund website. You can also use the discount code RPS_20 to secure your 20% reduction on the ticket price.

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