Advocating for change – the unseen work

Ross Gregory, Head of External Relations, RPS Wales

by Ross Gregory, Head of External Relations, RPS in Wales

Discussions at the recent Welsh Pharmacy Board meeting reminded me of the sheer breadth of advocacy work we are taking forward on behalf of our members. The quality and volume of work is quite incredible, as is the commitment of the RPS team and our Board Members. Yet, much of this hard work is unseen until a final outcome is arrived at.

As quick wins in the world of advocacy are rare (see previous blog on our influencing work) I wanted to take this opportunity to outline some of the key work that is currently underway in Wales to influence change and improvement for the profession and our patients.    

Your voice at the top tables

We continue to work with the Welsh Government to ensure our members interests are represented in national policy and guidance as well as strategic decisions.

  • After taking a key role in shaping the ten year vision for pharmacy, Pharmacy: Delivering a Healthier Wales, we are working with the Welsh Pharmaceutical Committee and the Welsh Pharmacy Partnership to ensure it can be implemented and can become a reality over the next ten years.
  • As a member of the national project board addressing handover from paediatric to adult services, we have been working with our members to help shape improvements in this important area of practice. New national guidance will be consulted upon this autumn, providing further opportunities to comment – so watch this space.
  • Our membership on the national Tobacco Control Strategic Board has also been giving us an opportunity to influence decisions on smoking cessation and the role of community pharmacy in the delivery of the Welsh Government’s plans for a smoke free Wales.  
  • With the support of our prison pharmacist members, we recently contributed to consultations about health care provision in the adult prison estate.
  • Informed by a survey of our members, we provided a response to the Welsh Government’s draft three year delivery plan for mental health.
  • We have also liaised and worked closely with members with an interest in education and workforce to ensure a strong voice for pharmacy in the development of the health and social care workforce strategy for Wales.

We’ll continue to horizon scan for all opportunities to amplify the voice of our membership at national levels.

Taking our palliative care policy forward

We are making great progress in our plans to implement the recommendations of our policy on pharmacy’s contribution to palliative and end of life care

We are making good progress on our plans to push for the recommendations of our policy on palliative care to be implemented. Over recent months we’ve met with several key stakeholders from within both pharmacy and palliative and end of life care to discuss implementation. These have included:

  • A presentation to the Wales End of Life Board, the body responsible to deliver the Welsh Government’s delivery plan.
  • The All Wales Palliative Care Pharmacist Group
  • The Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Wales
  • The National Clinical Lead for Palliative and End of Life Care
  • The Director of Palliative Care Postgraduate Education at Cardiff University
  • The Royal Collage of General Practitioners’ End of Life Lead.

In October we will be presenting detailed recommendations to the All Wales Chief Pharmacist group on a workforce model for pharmacy in palliative care. We’ll also be meeting the clinical lead for advance care planning for patients with a palliative condition to explore how pharmacy can support this important agenda.

Building the multidisciplinary team

Working with others and creating partnerships has also been important in addressing the future of multidisciplinary working in general practice settings in Wales. We have been working in partnership with the Royal College of General Practitioners and a number of other royal colleges to create a resource to support professionals who are working in or thinking of moving to a role within a GP setting. This exciting work is focusing on team culture, values and behaviours and will support the aims of the NHS Wales primary care transformation programme. We are aiming to launch and promote the resource at the Primary Care Conference in November and will be available to discuss this further at the event – so please do come and see us at our exhibition stand.

The B word

Last but not least and while it may be an uncomfortable subject for many, Brexit has become an increasingly important part of our work. We are keeping a very close eye on developments at the UK level and in Wales to ensure our voice can be heard in discussions about healthcare, the supply of medicines, the future of science and research, and the impact on recruitment.

We are supporting the Welsh Pharmacy Board Chair in her strategic discussions with the Welsh Government and NHS Wales about Brexit preparedness, as well as contributing the Welsh perspective at all opportunities to RPS engagement with the UK government. We are also dealing with rising numbers of media inquiries as the Brexit debate intensifies and you may have spotted RPS spokespeople on TV and radio news items.

If you have concerns about Brexit, you may be interested in our dedicated webpage which has a Q&A section about common questions about the UK’s exit from the EU and the implications for pharmacy.

There is a great deal going on and we want to make sure our members and the profession are aware of the areas that we are advocating on. Furthermore, we want to encourage as much dialogue as possible with our membership. Please do make your views known to us. This is particularly important as the Welsh Board moves towards planning its work programme for 2020. We want to hear the views of our members on the issues that are important to them so please get in touch.  

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