Rose Marie Parr announces retirement


Scotland’s chief pharmaceutical officer Professor Rose Marie Parr stands down today after five years as the profession’s leader in the Scottish government and head of the teams overseeing medicines and pharmacy policy.


Professor Parr had been due to retire earlier this year but, within days of announcing her decision, had to shelve her plans as her profession was confronted by its biggest challenge in living memory: to meet the dramatically increased demand from patients during the first months of the covid-19 pandemic while trying, at the same time, to help pharmacists and pharmacy technicians remain safe.


In a tweet today Professor Parr said:


“After over 40 years working, mostly in the NHS with a decade in academia – and five fantastic years as chief pharmaceutical officer for Scotland – is now time to retire. As CPO it has been an honour and privilege to lead pharmacy and pharmaceutical care for the population we serve.”


In a recent interview, Rose Marie Parr talked about how pharmacy has evolved since she had joined the register of pharmacists in 1982, working as a “young and naïve” pre-registration pharmacist in a Lanarkshire hospital:


“So much has changed for the better over the years since. We have gone from a period where it seemed mainly to be about formulation, dispensing and supply, to being much more patient-focused, utilising the knowledge and skills of pharmacists in a very different way.


“So, when I was a pre-reg, I would be looking at operational things like distribution and supply of medicines across the hospital wards.


“At the end of my time working in hospital the focus had moved to being directly involved in patient care and providing advice to prescribers and others.”


Professor Parr took on the role of director of postgraduate pharmacy education for Scotland and became the first director of pharmacy when NHS Education for Scotland was formed in 2002.


She was elected to be the first chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Scottish pharmacy board before being appointed to the role of chief pharmaceutical officer in 2015.


She oversaw a change in the direction of the pharmacy profession, first taking forward her predecessor Bill’s Scott’s policy document Prescription for Excellence, published in 2013, then with her own policy Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical Care.


Published in August 2017, it set out to increase further the role and recognition of pharmacy in communities as an additional and alternative said professionals to GPs.


It also promised the development of a broader professional career structure to allow pharmacists to move between different community in clinical settings.


Meanwhile, some 150 new roles were created for pharmacists to work in general practice.


At the end of July, NHS Pharmacy First was launched, giving everyone in Scotland the opportunity to go to their community pharmacy for diagnosis and prescribing of treatment for a series of common conditions.


“The one thing that I have missed out on, and others now have the opportunity to embrace, is being a prescriber,” Professor Parr said in her interview.


“I think utilising pharmacists’ knowledge and skills around prescribing, being the actual prescriber, taking accountability and responsibility for those medicines decisions, will be at the heart of the ‘new normal’ for pharmacy and a huge opportunity for our profession.”


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CPhO Andrew Evans on the opportunities for pharmacy in Wales and beyond

Andrew Evans Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Wales


Andrew Evans is the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Wales. At Pharmacy in Practice, we were extremely proud to welcome Andrew on to the podcast to talk about all things pharmacy.


We have outlined the questions we asked Andrew below. Click on the podcast link below to hear what turned out to be a very interesting, informative and entertaining conversation.


  1. How does one achieve the role of Chief Pharmaceutical Officer and what aspect of your role do you really enjoy?
  2. What is your view on the political ‘shenanigans’ in pharmacy?
  3. What exciting pharmacy projects are happening in Wales at the moment?
  4. There has been a significant shift of pharmacists working in general practice. What steps have you taken to ensure pharmacists moving into new roles in general practice are adequately supported?
  5. It is my assertion that some leaders in decision making roles have never actually done the emerging general practice roles. How do you mitigate this risk?
  6. How important are primary care consultant pharmacist roles to the plans for the development of pharmacists in Wales?
  7. How important is pharmaceutical care in modern pharmacy practice?
  8. What is the minimum community pharmacy locum rate you would work for?
  9. Do test and treat sore throat services encourage unnecessary clinical testing of people?
  10. How far are we along the journey to the decriminalisation of inadvertent dispensing errors?
  11. Do you recognise bullying as a problem in pharmacy?
  12. What is your advice for newly qualified pharmacists coming through?



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