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Community Pharmacy is not just keeping up with the pace of change – It is driving it

Philip Galt


I was delighted to hear that the theme of this year’s World Pharmacists Day, held on September 25, is “Safe and effective medicines for all“. The theme aims to highlight the key role that pharmacists play in protecting patient safety through improved medicine use and reduced medication errors.


From my role in the heart of community pharmacy practice in Scotland, I am privileged to manage a team of highly dedicated pharmacy professionals who are committed to improving patient safety through continual innovation and training.


To this end, Lindsay & Gilmour have taken a leading role in the introduction of new technologies to the community pharmacy sector.  Along with others, we have embraced the chance to combine the irreplaceable human face of the community pharmacist with innovative technologies for the benefit of both patients and pharmacy teams alike.


I am delighted to see similar innovation growing in pace and scope across the industry.  This undoubtedly helps to cement perceptions of the role of the community pharmacy as a vital and pioneering component in modern health care.


Last year, I was lucky enough to introduce the finalists in the category of ‘Innovative use of technology in community pharmacy’ at The Scottish Pharmacy Awards and I was overwhelmed by the quality of submissions in this area.


Community Pharmacy is not just keeping up with the pace of change.  It is driving it.


Let’s consider automation, which is probably the most well know technology to be implemented within the community pharmacy setting.


I witness, first-hand on a daily basis, how automation has improved both the speed and efficiency of the dispensing process and helped pharmacy businesses to benefit from improved stock control and the efficient use of often limited pharmacy space.


My colleagues regularly tell me of the real difference which the introduction of automation has made to their day to day working lives. For example, automation has significantly reduced the incidence of dispensing errors and increased the speed of dispensing, which has resulted in much lower waiting times. This contributes immeasurably to improving patient safety, convenience and accessibility.


And, crucially, using automation to replace labour intensive repetitive tasks has allowed staff greater freedom to have more meaningful conversations with patients which is, ultimately, where we as pharmacists make a real difference in the communities we serve.


Over recent times, we have introduced a number of pioneering technologies across our pharmacies which already contribute significantly to greater control over medicine management and convenience for patients.


These include the introduction of a new patient app which empowers patients to have greater control over the supply of their own medicines and supports pharmacy staff to more efficiently order and track repeat prescriptions.


Lindsay & Gilmour are also early adopters of cutting-edge online training resources by blending e-learning tools and access to round-the-clock support with a Lindsay & Gilmour Supervising Pharmacist who is nominated on enrolment.


Scanning technologies have brought further benefits to patient care with increased accuracy leading to a reduction in dispensing errors.


In addition, web-based technologies such as incident reporting systems, electronic CD registers and delivery management systems are all now commonplace in many pharmacies.   And, rest assured, as we find ourselves embracing these systems, there will be a wealth of emerging technologies waiting for us just around the corner…….


The benefits of the innovation demonstrated by Lindsay & Gilmour reaches well beyond its own business in many ways.


By leading the way in developments in technology and patient-centric Pharmacy design, Lindsay & Gilmour can play its role in continuing to drive standards of community pharmacy care upwards.


On World Pharmacist Day, I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate all those who work within community pharmacy here and throughout the world for the vital role they play in improving accessibility of quality and safe health care for all.


Philip Galt is the Managing Director and Superintendent Pharmacist at Lindsay & Gilmour Pharmacies.


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