General Election 2019 – A bright future for pharmacy?

By Sandra Gidley, RPS President

The NHS has become a key political battlefield and is featuring prominently in party political manifestos. With the election just a week away, what’s being promised by the parties and what does the future hold for pharmacy?

No crystal ball

We want to ensure that the role of pharmacists and the wider profession in delivering safe and effective healthcare becomes a central tenet of health policy. Our manifesto sets out some of our key campaigns such as patient safety, medicine shortages and growing pressures on the workforce.

We want the next UK Government to invest in pharmacy to maximise its contribution to healthcare. We want to see patient access to medicines secured in a complex global market and a clear future relationship with the EU (and the rest of the rest of the world) to make this happen.

Greater investment in the training and education of pharmacists is also vital. We have made it clear that this should be a key element of any future workforce strategy. We also want to ensure that patients benefit from advances in medicines and therapies. With growing pressures on workforce, the next government must expand health and wellbeing support to pharmacists and all health professionals delivering NHS services.

Positive signs

The political party manifestos offer some hope in achieving our calls to action and for delivering on key issues that we have long campaigned for. Our call to scrap prescription charges in England in line with Scotland and Wales is being echoed in the current political battles. Recognition of the pharmacy workforce across the NHS and particularly in primary care has emerged as a key health policy issue. Acknowledgement of evidence-based medicines and harnessing the potential of new medicinal products is also featuring in political dialogue in the run up to the election.

For further information about the pledges being made on healthcare by the main political parties, please see our handy summary guide.

Your voice counts

The clock is ticking but there is still time to have your voice heard. Why not encourage election candidates to show their support for pharmacy by using the RPS general election toolkit? Get in touch with your local candidates and invite them to a pharmacy visit to discuss the future role of pharmacy. You could also get involved in the social media conversations about the election, look out for #votepharmacy.

This election is a vitally important one. It is crucial that the main political parties back and support pharmacists and pharmacy services. As a pharmacist, please do make your voice heard and together, lets create a bright future for pharmacy.  

Primary care networks: getting started

by Stephanie West, RPS Regional Liaison Pharmacist

One of the things that excites me as a Regional Liaison Pharmacist for RPS is seeing examples of how local primary care professionals are coming together to discuss good patient care, provided by the right practitioner, close to home. So it was fantastic to see clear recognition of the key roles pharmacists play  Read more Primary care networks: getting started

The 14th Joint QP Symposium “cannot be more relevant to the modern day QP”

Eric 150by Eric Che MRPharmS,  Quality Assurance Manager and Qualified Person, St Georges Healthcare NHS Trust

One would suggest that the biggest challenge to all modern day QPs is to keep up to date with the constant evolving regulatory landscape whilst keeping afloat with day to day business.

In 2013 I attended the 13th Joint QP symposium organised by The Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Society of Biology.  It was particularly reassuring to hear colleagues and QPs from various industries and backgrounds sharing similar challenges that I faced in my area of interest.  Beyond sharing challenges, they also shared their approaches in dealing with these challenges.  The panel question session provided opportunity for the attendees to interact with the speakers via posting questions.  There were many learning points that I noted from the panel question session.

Read more The 14th Joint QP Symposium “cannot be more relevant to the modern day QP”

Think leadership isn’t for you? Think again

marianneby Marianne MacDonald, RPS Leadership Workstream Project Manager

Think of a great leader you’ve worked with in your career

Was it someone who swooped in to ‘save the day’, imposing an autocratic vision for change? Or was it someone in the background who engaged a whole team to care enough to want to make a difference?

Often if we are asked to think of a great leader, it’s an example of the former – the ‘hero’ leader – that automatically springs to mind. While this type of leader has a role (usually in a crisis situation), it also means that leadership is reserved for the very few in the upper echelons of an organisation. It’s also an outmoded concept of leadership. Read more Think leadership isn’t for you? Think again

“Nothing to lose and lots to gain” – The RPS Faculty

Lucy Gallowayby Lucy Galloway MFRPSII MRPharmS, Lead Pharmacist Renal, Transplant & Urology

Being one of the first Faculty members has been both a challenging and rewarding experience. The main challenge was the dive into the unknown and some trepidation about the assessment process. I worried: Will my evidence be good enough? Will the assessors think I am at the same level of practice as I think I am? Will the assessment be fair and consistent? Read more “Nothing to lose and lots to gain” – The RPS Faculty

‘Don’t be afraid to ask questions’ – Lauren Rose on being newly qualified

Lauren Roseby Lauren Rose, MRPharmS, newly qualified shift-working pharmacist, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

I qualified as a pharmacist in August 2013 and have since been working in a large teaching hospital as a shift-working pharmacist, whilst also undertaking my clinical diploma. The past few months have been an absolute rollercoaster, and I have definitely have had my ups and downs. Despite this, I have learnt lots since qualifying, not just in terms of my clinical knowledge, but additionally my prioritisation, organisational and communication skills.

Read more ‘Don’t be afraid to ask questions’ – Lauren Rose on being newly qualified

The pharmacy workforce: it’s more than just the numbers

david-banford(1)David Branford, English Pharmacy Board Chair

For most of my career there has been a shortage of pharmacists. Having a career that always provided a job has been a real luxury. It looks like that luxury is about to end. Read more The pharmacy workforce: it’s more than just the numbers

Co-operation, not competition is key to patient safety

By Paul Myres, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners in Wales

They may be different professions working in different places on the high street but there is one thing that unites GPs and pharmacists: a belief that patients in Wales are put at risk by failures in communication and understanding between health professionals – failures arising from outmoded systems and silo thinking. Read more Co-operation, not competition is key to patient safety

Can veterinary oncology guide us to new treatments for human cancer?

By Rachel Airley, EPB Board member and Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology

Thanks to the availability of pet insurance, more and more pet owners are able to get access to ever more sophisticated treatments, offering hope that for our furry friends diseases once considered untreatable will no longer be a death sentence.

Like humans, dogs and cats may develop cancer- in particular, bone, breast and skin cancers, as well as blood cancers such as lymphoma and leukaemia. The human and animal versions of the disease share similar characteristics so this has led to vets specialising in cancer to wonder whether research into the development of cancer treatment for use in naturally occurring veterinary cancers may give us important information about the way cancers work. This could turn out to be an important stepping stone for developing new anticancer drugs for use in humans. Read more Can veterinary oncology guide us to new treatments for human cancer?

Campaign to combat medicine waste in Wales

By Jonathan Simms, Clinical Director of Pharmacy, Aneurin Bevan Health Board

Aneurin Bevan Health Board launched a campaign at the end of January this year as part of an initiative to raise awareness of medicine waste, how medicines are wasted and the part that patients and the public can play in helping to reduce this waste.

Medicines play an important part in promoting well-being, preventing ill-health and managing disease.  However, few of us think about the medicines that we waste, how they are disposed of, or how much they cost. Read more Campaign to combat medicine waste in Wales