After ‘extensive engagement’ with its members, patient groups and others the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has set out its views on the future of pharmacy.
RPS said that the engagement captured important learnings from the pandemic response and explored the enhanced contribution the pharmacy profession can make to the NHS.
RPS aims to ensure the innovative practice, collaborative approaches and positive changes that happened during Covid-19 are developed to improve patient care and the use of pharmacists’ expertise whilst integrating pharmacy further into the NHS.
The future of pharmacy, in a sustainable NHS, maps out key recommendations under three main priorities:
- Supporting and valuing the pharmacy workforce.
- Supporting an integrated NHS.
RPS President Sandra Gidley said:
“We’re clear that losing any key benefits to patient care and pharmacy practice that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic is not an option.
“Much of the pandemic was extremely challenging but many positives have also emerged. Examples include flexible opening hours, which have given teams opportunities for professional development and time to focus on complex queries. Protected, funded learning time must be embedded within workforce planning.
“The growth of virtual consultations is transforming access to care across the health service and we want to see this implemented in pharmacies across the country to complement face-to-face advice.
“Pharmacists must be empowered to transform patient care through more opportunities for independent prescribing. There also needs to be legislative change to allow all community pharmacists to make amends to prescriptions, which would improve medicines supply and bring them into line with secondary care colleagues, where this is standard practice.
“We will work with Governments, the NHS, employers and others to ensure our recommendations become the ‘new normal’ across all areas of practice. Pharmacy is at an important crossroads and the decisions and actions taken now will be critical in crafting the future we want for pharmacy and our patients.”