Aim for excellence

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“WE have to modify our profession to adapt to changing needs,” said Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie, Chair of the Prescription for Excellence steering board at the NHS Education for Scotland Pharmacy Conference. He explained that working with other professional colleagues and being part of a team meant more could be achieved and urged closer working between pharmacists and others in the primary care team. “We can do more together than apart,” he said,  “Competence is not sufficient we should strive for excellence. You need to be working at top of your game, not somewhere in the middle.” It was important to have a backbone of governance in place and crucial to this was “recording and sharing” he said.
Damian Day, Head of Education at the General Pharmaceutical Council explained that in order to meet the challenges within Prescription for Excellence, changes to the undergraduate courses were needed and that plans for changing education for pharmacists was more advanced than that for technicians. The aim he said was for “integrated training of medics and pharmacists and an inter-professional curriculum.” Some schools of pharmacy in the UK had already achieved good levels of inter-disciplinary training on undergraduate courses, but work was already going on in Scotland to produce a draft framework for pharmacy schools to fully achieve this ambition. There was evidence to show that this inter-disciplinary approach produced pharmacists who were more confident.
Anne Watson, NES assistant director of pharmacy explained that 20% of pharmacists were currently trained to be prescribers, but “that isn’t enough”, she said. NES was introducing two prescribing courses per year at each of the two School of Pharmacy in Scotland as well as clinical skills training, and introducing the role of pharmacist prescribing ambassadors. There was also a pilot being undertaken of an online prescribing safety assessment tool. She explained what could be achieved by describing the example of pharmacist Valerie Silitto who runs 3 prescribing clinics from her community pharmacy in Aberdeeen, has IT links with the GP practice to enable her to access clinical information and uses accredited checking technicians in the dispensary.