By Suzanne Scott-Thomas, Chair, Welsh Pharmacy Board
In May 2016 people in Wales will cast their votes in the elections to the National Assembly. Engaging with politicians in the run up to the election is vitally important in helping us secure a better future for patients and the pharmacy profession in Wales.
That’s why we’ve launched our policy vision for Wales, Steps to better health and wellbeing to help shape the manifestos of the political parties. It highlights the importance of maximising the pharmacy workforce and using clinical pharmacy skills to help address the current and future demands on NHS services.
Fully utilising the skills of the pharmacy profession will build capacity in the NHS at a time when services are stretched to the limit.
Steps to better health and wellbeing outlines that the current model of pharmacy delivery is out of date. It calls for a commitment by all the parties in Wales to fully unlock the potential of pharmacy and offer patients and other health professionals a more integrated and patient centred approach to care.
We’ve outlined three key calls to action to increase patient access to health and wellbeing services in Wales:
Establish a pharmacy-led Welsh Chronic Medication Service
Improving the medicines management of chronic conditions is imperative to ensure patients can benefit from high quality care. A pharmacy-led Welsh Chronic Medication Service would allow people with chronic conditions to benefit from structured support, advice and review of their medicines from a pharmacist.
Permit pharmacist access to individual health records
Access to accurate patient information is vitally important when patients migrate through the health and social care system and when prescribing decisions are made or reviewed as patients move between care settings.
Fully integrate pharmacist expertise into NHS multidisciplinary teams
Building professional partnerships focused on enhancing patient care, harnessing the expertise of pharmacists and utilising their clinical and prescribing skills in models of NHS care will improve patient access to services and help alleviate pressures experienced by other health professionals, including GPs and nurses.
Taking these steps will start an important programme of change that will help increase patient access to pharmacy prescribers, shift care closer to people’s homes, improve medicines safety, and share caseloads with GPs and other health professionals.
Over the next year, we will build upon our relationships with the political parties in Wales and key stakeholders to promote our pharmacy vision to them. We want to be in the best position to influence the manifesto proposals for healthcare and the health programme of the future Welsh Government. If you are interested in getting involved and would like more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.