Vision, politics, pharmacy clubs, elitism, free services and where community pharmacy goes next

 

Ian Strachan is a community pharmacy owner contractor. He owns a number of pharmacies in England. He was the Chair of the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) between 2014 to 2018.

 

I have wanted to chat with Ian for a while now. He really has operated at the top of UK pharmacy politics for quite some time and has led the way with many innovative initiatives through his community pharmacies.

 

We had a wide-ranging and fascinating conversation about many aspects of community pharmacy.

 

Community pharmacy politics in England is a complicated and often turbulent arena. This came out in the chat but we offset these challenges with some positivity as we looked to the future. A fulfilling and attractive career pathway for pharmacists working in community pharmacy was important to both of us.

 

Ian is passionate about the profession and in particular, he cares deeply about the professionalisation of community pharmacy. We discussed what he thought the vision for the future of community pharmacy should be in the coming years and delved into some notable long-standing community pharmacy topics like free deliveries for example.

 

Ian is as enthusiastic an advocate for community pharmacy that I have spoken to for a while so it was fascinating to get his insight.

 

 

 

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Interview: Duncan Rudkin on guiding the GPhC through a pandemic

 

I was very proud and grateful to get the chance to talk to the Chief Executive Officer of the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) Duncan Rudkin.

 

Duncan was very generous with his time and we discussed a wide range of topics. Time was limited so we didn’t get through all the topics I wanted to but we did cover lots of ground. We have submitted the questions we didn’t get round to and Duncan has kindly agreed to answer them so stay tuned.

 

Areas explored include the following:

 

  • What is the role of the GPhC and to who are they accountable?
  • Is the current revalidation process fit for purpose to safely regulate independent prescribers?
  • Is independent prescribing practice ahead of regulation?
  • How do the GPhC standards guard against the risk associated with unconscious incompetence?
  • Is the fitness to practise process in its current form fit for purpose?
  • Do you think the experience of registrants that have gone through the fitness to practise process good enough?
  • Is a person who supplies a COVID-19 rapid antibody test unfit to practise?
  • Will the GPhC express opinions on other matters for example homoeopathy?
  • Is the public at more risk now that inspections have been stopped due to the pandemic?
  • What was the most difficult decision the GPhC has had to make during the COVID-19 pandemic so far?

 

 

 

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Why I want to be a pharmacist partner in a GP practice

 

Darshan Negandhi is a Primary Care Network (PCN) clinical pharmacist. Previously he was Director and Superintendent Pharmacist at Lewisham Pharmacy in London.

 

He has recently made the move to work within the PCN and is thoroughly enjoying it. We had a great chat about all things pharmacy. Darshan is very modest but has a fantastic ambition to become a pharmacist partner ina GP practice. With his talent, vision and enthusiasm I fully expect him to achieve this.

 

Thoroughly enjoyed this chat.

 

 

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Is community pharmacy representation in need of an overhaul?

Professor David Wright

 

David Wright, Professor of Pharmacy Practice from the School of Pharmacy at the University of East Anglia has lead an independent review of the roles and structures underpinning Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) and the Local Pharmaceutical Committees (LPCs) in England.

 

The review has been called at a time when the community pharmacy landscape is rapidly changing and local representation and support has never been more important. The purpose of the review was to result in recommendations which will optimise PSNC and LPC contractor representation and support and ensure that the national network structure is working as efficiently for contractors as it can and is fit for the future.

 

The review team has made 33 recommendations, including the introduction of an independent governance and strategy oversight committee, replacement of the PSNC with a council constituted with LPC chairs and significantly increased funding for national negotiation activities.

 

You can read the full report here.

 

This report goes much further than many people expected and as such we were very pleased to discuss the findings with Professor Wright on the PIP podcast.

 

 

 

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Professor Harry McQuillan on the ‘ART’ of community pharmacy

Chief Executive Officer of Community Pharmacy Scotland Professor Harry McQuillan

 

Professor Harry McQuillan has been Chief Executive Officer of Community Pharmacy Scotland for 14 years. He has worked in a range of roles across pharmacy since qualifying as a pharmacist a number of years ago.

 

Our paths have crossed a number of times over the years but given the exciting developments in pharmacy in Scotland, the timing of this interview was really perfect.

 

Earlier this year was supposed to be one of the most exciting times in community pharmacy in Scotland but all that was put on hold due to COVID-19.

 

But with adversity comes opportunity and the community pharmacy network in Scotland ‘creaked’ but was never close to falling over even at the height of the crisis. It is this balance between a secure supply chain versus a platform to deliver valuable services right at the heart of communities that Harry describes as being most important.

 

‘Supply is not enough’.

 

Community Pharmacy Scotland has managed to support the development of a network of community pharmacies in Scotland that can deliver that core dispensing role efficiently but that also leaves the door open to innovation.

 

And that innovation will shortly come in the form of Pharmacy First. We chatted about the in’s and out’s of the new service. I was particularly interested to hear Harry’s vision for the future whilst casting a look over our shoulder to the days of Professor Bill Scott and some of the policy documents that have helped to deliver the opportunities that we see today. We even discussed the origins of pharmaceutical care back in 1990.

 

‘Scotland is a place where you can work in community pharmacy and put your degree to the test’.

 

The door has now been thrown open to innovation and service development up here all under the banner of ‘Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical Care’. Rose Marie Parr has given the network permission to get on and do it. And the money from the Scottish Government has followed. The relationship between the players here continues closer than ever.

 

Harry reflected on the ‘Prescription for Excellence’ document and restated the ambition in there that every pharmacist should be an independent prescriber. The Pharmacy First deal makes a confident move towards a consultation based payment structure to the community pharmacy contract. The conflict of interest that is often cast up around supplying and dispensing on the same premesis has been mitigated and pharmacists can move forward with confidence.

 

Harry described how the future involves gathering a complete dataset that will help with the articulation of the true value of community pharmacy.

 

I found the chat extremely uplifting. Scottish community pharmacy are playing to win and so far have delivered. Pharmacy First is the next challenge and it comes at the right time. The network needs to not just recover but innovate, develop and thrive.

 

There were a few probing personal questions in there so make sure and listen or watch to the end.

 

You can watch the interview or subscribe to the PIP podcast if you prefer to listen.

 

I found it to be a very encouraging and optimistic conversation but don’t take my word for it, decide for yourself.

 

Johnathan.

 

 

 

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Jonathan Burton on leading pharmacy out of a crisis

Jonathan Burton MBE community pharmacist independent prescriber and Chair of the Scottish RPS Board

 

Jonathan Burton is Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Scottish Pharmacy Board and he has been on the frontline in community pharmacy throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

 

We caught up to have a chat about the myriad of unprecedented things that pharmacists and their teams have had to cope with over the last few months. Changes in legislation, delays in registration of pre-registration pharmacists, opportunism from certain organisations and the performance of the RPS during the crisis.

 

 

Below are some of the questions we put to Jonathan. Watch the interview to hear how he responded.

 

Where do we go next in pharmacy?

From a general perspective how do think the government in Scotland has performed in response to the pandemic?

Has the national question in Scotland and the way decisions are taken favoured the profession?

How has the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) performed during the crisis?

How do you think RPS members feel about the decision to make resources free to the whole profession at the point when the RPS value proposition is arguably most potent?

Have you got any concerns about some of the decisions made by any organisation during the pandemic?

How can RPS support provisionally registered pharmacists?

Do you think there will be increased responsibility on pre-reg tutors during this provisional registration process?

Do you think there is a chance that the issue of vicarious liability could become an issue for pre-reg tutors especially if a provisionally registered student that they are supervising fail the registration exam?

Do you feel that pharmacists have adequate development opportunities over the years and if not why has investment been lacking?

If we encourage remote consultation services like NHS Near Me in community pharmacy why will people need to go to a community pharmacy?

Can you tell us about your early experiences of using NHS Near Me?

Who do you think the next Chief Pharmaceutical Officer of Scotland will be?

 

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