YESTERDAY I attended the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and NHS National Education for Scotland (NES) joint conference with the catchy title One for all and all for one!
I reflected on what I heard and experienced through the day.
In case you have not noticed, we have a new (11 months ago) Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Professor Rose-Marie Parr. I have heard her speak a few times now, and I must admit each time I listen my faith in the future of the profession of pharmacy in Scotland is further reinforced.
In my humble opinion I think she just ‘gets it’.
She gets that the cornerstone of our practice as pharmacy professionals is the concept, first coined by Hepler and Strand, of Pharmaceutical care. As pharmacy professionals regardless of setting this is absolutely our specialty and the territory that we need to occupy.
She gets that actually we have come a long way in Scotland and that especially in community pharmacy we have some good elements to our core contract. Aspects of that contract like registration of patients on to the chronic medication service spring to mind. Our national minor ailments service is the envy of the rest of the UK and colleagues like Jonathan Burton continue to innovate.
She gets that we need an edge over other professions and then we need to shout about that edge. Our edge is of course drugs and all the issues that comes with their use. The opportunity to develop this edge continues to grow and demographics are on our side. More people have multiple morbidities and with that follows the colossal issue of polypharmacy. We need to step up, or out from behind the counter, and offer solutions.
Most important, however, in my view is that she gets that we cannot do all this transitional work on our own. Together the profession is stronger. Rose Marie’s emphasis on collaborative collegiate working has been a dominant theme of her tenure and I applaud her for that.
Johnathan Laird is a community pharmacist independent prescriber with a special interest in asthma. He is based in Aberdeen.