Dr Emily Kennedy on why Scottish pharmacy remains world leading

Senior prescribing support pharmacist Dr Emily Kennedy


Dr Emily Kennedy has worked as a prescribing support pharmacist in primary care in NHS Dumfries and Galloway for 16 years and now supervises 17 pharmacists working across general practice. Her varied and very successful career so far has involved education, research and work in community pharmacy.


I was interested to discuss various aspects to her current and previous roles. In particular, I was interested to hear more about Emily’s current role and how she has seen things change in pharmacy over the years.


We discussed the current state of play in primary care pharmacy in Scotland and touched on education, training, supervision, competence and also the need for pharmacists to have confidence in their own ability.


Scottish pharmacy has evolved dramatically over recent years and Emily has really been part of that evolution. We discussed how pharmacists’ expectations have changed and how her work now involves


During the COVID-19 crisis, Emily has been involved with her local COVID-19 hub in Dumfries and Galloway. I was interested to hear her insights around being involved here.



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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.

Public call for much greater use of technology in NHS Scotland


Scotland’s public would like to see much greater use of technology in its NHS, a Scottish Parliament Committee inquiry has found. The findings were published as part of the Health and Sport Committee inquiry into the future of primary care.


The Committee’s report is the first part of their inquiry which placed the views of the public as its starting point. The public outline their desire for all-encompassing electronic patient records, and the ability to contact health professionals by email, schedule appointments online and hold consultations via video.


The Health and Sport Committee decided that given multiple developments in Primary Care services it was appropriate to take a broader look at services and how they will look in the future.


The report highlights a clear desire from the public for a change in how primary care services are accessed and delivered. The most popular suggestions include:


  • A greater focus on prevention rather than treatment including the introduction of a universal health MOT.
  • Being seen by the most appropriate health professional as opposed to always a GP.
  • Mental health as a priority focus with the NHS working with schools & employers to catch mental health problems early, and include mental health as part of teacher training.
  • More flexible and streamlined appointment systems – including routine access to evening/weekend appointments.
  • More easily accessible information about services available and expansion in primary care services, especially those regarding testing and diagnosis, and pain and weight management.


Other findings in the report include 77% of respondents agreeing with the Scottish Government vision for the future of primary care and 78% of those who have used out of hours services being satisfied or very satisfied with them.


Concerns were also raised over the centralisation of services and a disparity between rural and urban services.


The aim for the first phase of the inquiry was to hear directly from service users about their future priorities for primary care. The survey was launched at the beginning of March and remained open until the end of April. In total, they received 2,549 responses.


Input was also received from the Scottish Youth Parliament Survey who worked with the Committee to ensure they were able to access the views of younger people between 12 and 25. This survey received 1,136 responses.


Three public panels of 10-14 people were then established, sampled from a randomly recruited pool to meet to certain criteria (eg age, gender, socio-economic background). The panels were invited to discuss issues similar to those included in the survey in a more in-depth and informed way. Panels were located in the East (Dunfermline), West (Cambuslang) and North (Inverurie) (to mirror the NHS regions), with one a more rural location.


Lewis Macdonald MSP, Convener of the Health and Sport Committee, said:


“The future of primary care is something which will affect every citizen in Scotland. It covers a vast range of services from General Practitioners (GPs) or Community Nurses to our contact with other health professionals such as Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists, Midwives, Dentists, Opticians and Pharmacists.


“We decided to put members of the public at the centre of this discussion and it’s clear from what we’ve been told that the public is well-informed, insightful and passionate about the future of primary care in Scotland.


“The public clearly has an appetite for change and retaining the status quo is not an option.


“For the second part of our inquiry, the Committee will take these findings to health professionals and seek their response before we make our final recommendations to Parliament.”


The full report can be found here.