This time last year…

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


This time last year, it would have been impossible for any of us to imagine just what challenges lay ahead in the coming months.


In truth, it’s hard to overstate what a significant year this has been for community pharmacy in Scotland. More than ever I have watched with pride as colleagues across the community pharmacy network have worked together tirelessly to offer nothing short of a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable members of our communities at a time they needed us most. And it’s not gone unrecognised.


National polling carried out by the National Pharmacy Association in June found that there is strong public support for a greater role for pharmacies within the NHS.


  • 74% want pharmacies to provide more NHS services.
  • 89% of people believe pharmacies play an essential role.


Yet at the same time, the survey reported that only 3 out of 10 people are “definitely aware” that community pharmacies are part of the NHS, despite the fact that pharmacies are the most visited of all settings where NHS care is offered. Indeed, throughout the pandemic community pharmacies were one of the few healthcare settings that kept their “doors open”, providing much needed, face to face convenient access to healthcare services to the public.


Community pharmacies provide a range of NHS services and pharmacy teams work with other professionals, such as doctors and nurses, to give you the best possible care as part of the local healthcare team.


Community pharmacists demonstrated incredible resilience and fortitude from the front line of the COVID crisis, ensuring that as many people with minor medical needs and long-term conditions were kept safe at home. At Lindsay & Gilmour, both our online prescription management service and free home delivery service grew in demand exponentially.


This, in turn, played a vital role in protecting hospital beds and secondary care resources available for those who were directly affected by COVID-19.


The recent introduction of NHS Pharmacy First Scotland means even greater access to your community pharmacist to discuss a wide range of health and healthcare issues, not just about medicines. Sometimes people go to a doctor or even a hospital for problems that could be sorted out more conveniently at the pharmacy. It’s estimated that up to 18 million GP appointments per year and 3.7 million A&E visits could instead be handled in a pharmacy.


So please, do remember to Ask Your Pharmacist for:


  • Advice and treatment for minor illnesses such as coughs, colds and earache
  • Advice on staying well and preventing disease
  • A range of vaccinations
  • Help to quit smoking
  • Personalised support to get the most from your medicines


Pharmacy teams deliver prompt, professional health care advice when and where it is needed. The community pharmacy network in Scotland and beyond is a precious resource. We are proud to be part of the NHS team and privileged to be able to serve our community.


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



Dr Graham Stretch appointed PCPA President


Dr Graham Stretch has been appointed as President of the Primary Care Pharmacy Association (PCPA). The move comes as Liz Butterfield stands down. Liz has held the position of President since 2015 and has overseen significant growth and development of the organisation.


The PCPA was established for the benefit of all primary care pharmacists and pharmacy technicians with an active interest in primary care pharmacy. It is the largest and longest standing independent organisation dedicated to supporting pharmacy professionals working within primary care.


The PCPA has a mission to support primary care pharmacists and pharmacy technicians through a network of leading practitioners, sharing best practice and inspiring innovation. Their mission is to promote clinical excellence for the benefit of our patients, their members and the profession.


Liz Butterfield commented on her tenure as President and also on the appointment of Graham Stretch:


“It really has been a huge privilege to have held the office of President of the Primary Care Pharmacy Association since late 2015. We are going from strength to strength and actively encouraging talented pharmacy professionals to get involved and collectively move forward for the benefit of primary care and patients.


“PCPA is a real team effort and we are very fortunate to have the most amazing innovators, leaders and specialist advisors who together share their enthusiasm and expertise with members and colleagues – a big thank you to all of you! I would also like to thank PCPA Manager, Michelle Kaulbach-Mills who has been a great friend and colleague, along with Melisa and Carol who make everything work so smoothly. Heartfelt thanks to all who have been actively involved in our committees and conferences – you are all stars and your commitment is really appreciated. Thank you too to all members of PCPA – it’s all about you.


“I am now handing the Presidency baton to Dr Graham Stretch who has been such an inspiring Vice President of PCPA. Congratulations Graham, you will be brilliant, and all very best wishes for the future to PCPA.”


Dr Graham Stretch commented on his appointment:


“It is a great honour to have been asked to take up the presidency of PCPA at this time of great change for pharmacy professionals in primary care. Liz Butterfield, as President, has guided the PCPA with skill and care, laying solid foundations, supporting and leading primary care pharmacy as it has moved into a more confident era. Pharmacy is taking up a central role in the delivery of care across settings, pharmacy professionals are expertly taking up roles outside the traditional community and hospital settings in urgent care, care homes, general practices and now Primary Care Networks.


“The next few years promises to herald a step change, thousands of pharmacy professionals will take up roles in Primary Care Networks and elsewhere, these skilled and talented individuals need proactive support, confident and forward-thinking role models, attentive mentors and strong positive networks. PCPA will facilitate this and so much more.


“As individual pharmacists and pharmacy technicians travel on their journeys from preregistration, through foundation towards advanced practice and consultancy, PCPA will provide local and national assistance, offer opportunities to build portfolios, provide training, offer meaningful resources and most of all, be a connected group of coal face practising professionals offering real-time, friendly, virtual and face to face networks.


“The PCPA is a unique peer to peer association of equals, we champion pharmacy practitioners and the expertise, safety and efficiency they add to any team. We are outward looking, research and evidence-based, open and optimistic for our profession’s future.


“We lift as we climb, facilitating and supporting members to upskill and thrive, providing an environment that celebrates innovation whilst embracing a sharing culture, generous with its time and expertise, so we all collectively benefit from our most precious resource – our members. I look forward to sharing the next few years with these members and growing together.”


If you are interested in joining the PCPA click here.

Ash Soni will not seek re-election as RPS President


Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) President Ash Soni has announced he will not seek re-election as President at the RPS Assembly on July 18th. He will remain as a member of the RPS Assembly and the English Pharmacy Board.


RPS Chief Executive Paul Bennett said:


“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ash Soni for his considerable contribution in his role as RPS President over many years and in particular his personal hard work and dedication.


“Having worked with Ash during his recent Presidency I know this will not have been an easy decision for him to reach, but I respect his decision to not contest the forthcoming elections and in so doing give opportunity for other elected members sitting on the Assembly to take on this demanding role.


“I understand that Ash will also continue to work closely with NHS England as an LPN Chair and with the many other healthcare organisations that he works with and we look forward to seeing his continued contribution to the development of our profession.”


RPS President Ash Soni said:


“From my personal perspective, it’s the right time for me to focus on other areas where I will have the time to support the further development of pharmacy and pharmacists.


“These include Stepcare, an initiative in India where I am involved in building two new primary care centres from the ground up.  I will also be expanding my role at NHS England around system leadership, and my role within the National Association of Primary Care, integrating pharmacy into Primary Care Home, the leading primary care network.”


The Grouchy Pharmacist: Take me to your leader


Leadership, self-nominated awards and a healthy dose of self-promotion, here we go again…


If you had the misfortunate to catch a bit of the Twitter over the past week you’ll be forgiven for thinking that pharmacy is comprised of a pile of leaders and a bunch of wanna be leaders hanging on every word of the chosen few who habitually man the podia and stages of pharmacy events up and down our country.


Leadership appears to be the new pharmaceutical care. It’s the latest pharmacy zeitgeist. It’s ubiquitous.


It’s also really annoying.


But it’s clearly a revenue generator for private companies harnessing the benefits of this tidal surge in interest in the hallowed and humble words of the wise self-appointed leaders who clearly spend little time leading and most of it at conferences, or reading books about leadership.




Meanwhile slogging away in the trenches, pharmacists, most of them thankfully oblivious to the golden leadership nuggets handed out like Maundy money to conference attendees hoping to benefit from the reflective glory of ‘leaders’, just get on with the daily grind.


You see, for me, when we talk about leaders, we assume that there are the half-witted drones that mindlessly follow them and fall into their clever management traps. The leaders I know and respect in pharmacy would shy away from being called a ‘leader’ — they just get on with their job and naturally take people with them. No fancy words, self-promotion and famous quotes from them. They don’t try to spread the ‘leadership’ infection.


Anyway, where are the checks and balances on these self-appointed leadership superstars? A few woke comments, cynical self-promotion finished off by an inspirational quote and off they go. Throw in a self-nominated award and we will shortly arrive at leadership utopia.


Yes, leadership is important if we want to improve patient care, but I’m not convinced that herding all and sundry through leadership courses, and banging on about it ad infinitum will yield the benefits we are looking for.

RPS develops systems leadership guide for pharmacy


The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has published a new online guide to help pharmacists develop the leadership qualities needed to work at the local and regional level across different NHS systems in England.


Aimed at pharmacists already in a leadership role or ready to take their first steps into system leadership, the resource contains a number of practical advice to encourage collaborative working as part of the health and social care team. It provides checklists of the resources, standards and guidance needed to build knowledge and skills, along with case studies of how pharmacists have improved medicines optimisation and patient care.

Sandra Gidley, Chair of RPS in England, said:


“Having pharmacists in positions of leadership across NHS systems in England is critical to cementing medicines optimisation and patient safety across primary, secondary and tertiary care. This will ensure patients and the NHS get the best value from their medicines.


“The NHS Long Term Plan and GP contract encourage collaborative working with colleagues and other healthcare professionals to meet local population health needs. The challenge going forward is to ensure pharmacists are formally involved in the care systems that will deliver the Plan.


“Pharmacist leaders must identify where in local and regional systems they can work collaboratively and across traditional boundaries to embed pharmacy services and medicines optimisation where they will have the most impact.


“One thing is clear. The Long Term Plan is the only game in town and will be delivered through PCNs, STPs and ICSs. Pharmacists must be part of these systems at a leadership level to ensure the future success of the profession at every level of practice.


“A systems approach to medicines optimisation and pharmacy is part of our support for members working to improve medicines optimisation. We hope that other pharmacists will contribute their experiences and share good practice in this rapidly changing environment.”

Interview with Ade Williams


Ade Williams is the lead pharmacist at Bedminster Pharmacy, a Healthy Living Pharmacy in South Bristol. He actively works to increase public understanding of community pharmacy’s work and roles within the NHS whilst also highlighting ways to broaden access to the extensive expertise offered by the whole pharmacy team.


He was good enough to join me on the podcast and we got under the skin of community pharmacy. We discussed some of the tougher aspects of working in community pharmacy today but also some reasons to be hopeful.


Ade really is an inspirational pharmacist and a very humble leader. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting to him and would encourage anyone to listen to find out how he is shaping community pharmacy in south Bristol.



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