The future global pharmacist

There’s a big world out there beyond UK pharmacy and a few years ago Dr Catherine Duggan stepped out into it. As the CEO of The International Pharmaceutical Federation, she has demonstrated transformational leadership globally.

Through this work, she has championed the role of the pharmacist in many countries around the world.

We are extremely fortunate to welcome her to the inaugural Future Pharmacist Conference to explain how the pharmacist profession has developed globally especially in light of recent events.

2nd November 2021


Community pharmacy features in Scottish women’s health plan

A plan to improve health and reduce inequalities for women in Scotland has been published by the Scottish Government.

The plan features the idea to set up a women’s health community pharmacy service.

The Women’s Health Plan sets out 66 actions to ensure ‘all women enjoy the best possible healthcare throughout their lives.

Key actions include:

  • Appointing a national Women’s Health Champion and a Women’s Health Lead in every NHS board.
  • Establishing a Women’s Health Research Fund to close gaps in scientific and medical knowledge.
  • Providing a central platform for women’s health information on NHS Inform.
  • Setting up a Women’s Health Community Pharmacy service.
  • Commissioning endometriosis research to develop better treatment and management, and a cure.
  • Developing a menopause and menstrual health workplace policy, and promoting it across the public, private and Third Sector.
  • Improving information and public awareness of heart disease symptoms and risks for women.

Women’s Health Minister Maree Todd said:

“Our vision for women’s health is an ambitious one – and rightly so. It is clear that wider change must happen to ensure all our health and social care services meet the needs of all women, everywhere.

“Women’s health is not just a women’s issue. When women and girls are supported to lead healthy lives and fulfil their potential, the whole of society benefits.

“Together, we are working to address inequalities in all aspects of health that women are facing. The Women’s Health Plan signals our ambition and determination to see change for women in Scotland, for their health and for their role in society. We want Scotland to be a world leader when it comes to women’s health.”

Head of British Heart Foundation Scotland James Jopling said:

“Coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in women in Scotland and kills nearly three times as many as women as breast cancer. At every stage – from the moment they experience symptoms through to their cardiac rehabilitation – women with heart disease can face disadvantages. We need to improve our understanding of the risks for women and increase their awareness of the symptoms of a heart attack.

“We must also promote equality of treatment for women with heart disease within the healthcare system, at every point in their journey. The publication of the Women’s Health Plan, with heart health as a priority, is a welcome step to tackle these inequalities and we look forward to working together to help save and improve lives.”

Vice President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Dr Pat O’Brien said:

“We welcome Scotland’s commitment to this ambitious and detailed plan as a key marker to making improvements to healthcare services for all women from different backgrounds. 

“We are pleased to see the Women’s Health Plan adopts an approach to prioritise the health and wellbeing of women throughout every stage of their lives, and ensure they can access care when they need it  – something we called for in our Better for Women report.

“It is important that all women are included and consulted about how health services can fit their needs. This Plan has been developed with extensive consultation with a diverse group of women, ensuring that the health service is inclusive and respectful, and can work to focus on closing inequalities in women’s health experience and outcomes.”

The Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Alison Strath commented on Twitter:

Director or Operations at Community Pharmacy Scotland Matt Barclay commented on Twitter:

Consultation on naloxone availability announced

A four nations consultation has been launched to amend current legislation and permanently widen access to naloxone to all those who come into contact with people who use drugs.

This includes police, nurses, midwives and prison officers.

However, it also asks for suggestions of individuals or services that should be included in that list. The Scottish Government wants all those affected by drug use to have access to the medicine without fear of prosecution, including families of those at risk and a wide range of professionals.

Minister for Drugs Policy Angela Constance said:

“We are pleased to be part of this UK wide consultation but we are anxious to see what is being proposed to go further to allow not just drug and emergency services to legally supply naloxone, but also non-drugs services, families of those affected by drug use, and anyone else who is likely to witness an overdose.

“We have called on the UK Government to make these changes permanent ensuring all people who need it have access to this life saving drug. So I am asking all those affected by drug use, whether you use drugs, have a family member who does, or you have contact with someone at risk, through your work to please take the opportunity to have your say.

“We have seen fast and bold action being taken by ‘non drug services’ to access naloxone to protect those most at risk. One of them is Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs (SFAD) who with the support of the Scottish Drugs Forum (SFD) set up a click and deliver service which has now been supplying kits to those who need them for over a  year.

“Naloxone is one of a wide range of measures being used to address the public health emergency of drugs deaths, but it plays an important role and allows those supplying the kits to connect people who use drugs and their families with appropriate local services. Seeing those services and individuals being unable to continue to access the medication would be truly devastating.

“Over the next five years we will spend £250 million on addressing this crisis and I am determined that every penny of this additional funding will make a difference.” 

SDF Strategy Coordinator Kirsten Horsburgh said:

“Following the announcement of the temporary Lord Advocate statement in early 2020, Scotland has introduced the supply of naloxone from numerous ‘non-drug treatment’ services across the country. This has included homelessness services, family support services and criminal justice services to name a few.

“We already recognise the significant benefits for widening naloxone provision through these routes and strongly encourage people to complete the consultation to ensure the permanency of this approach.

“We cannot afford to be short-sighted or restrictive in our efforts to get naloxone into the hands of those likely to witness an overdose.”

The consultation runs until 28 September 2021. You can access the consultation by clicking here.

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New Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Scotland announced

Professor Alison Strath has been confirmed as the Scottish Government’s new Chief Pharmaceutical Officer (CPhO).

The Chief Pharmaceutical Officer is the professional lead for NHS pharmaceutical care and medicines policy in Scotland, providing advice to the First Minister, the Health Secretary, the wider Ministerial team and strategic leadership to the pharmacy profession in Scotland.

Professor Strath has been working within the Scottish Government since 2002, initially as Principal Pharmaceutical Officer and, since October 2020, as interim Chief Pharmaceutical Officer. She was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain in 2010 and as an Emeritus Professor at the School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen in 2018.

In related news, Professors Graham Ellis and Nicola Steedman have been appointed Deputy Chief Medical Officers (DCMOs).

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

“The past year has highlighted just how important health and social care is to the work of the Scottish Government, and I’m delighted to welcome Professor Alison Strath as Chief Pharmaceutical Officer and Professors Graham Ellis and Nicola Steedman as our new Deputy Chief Medical Officers.

“They will all play a key role in ensuring that health and social care advice informs our work across the board and adds value to our pandemic response.”

Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith said:

“Scotland’s response to the pandemic has been informed by a strong clinical team, working around the clock and adapting to change in unprecedented circumstances.

“We’re only as strong as the colleagues who support us and I am proud to work with an incredibly dedicated team of clinicians. These permanent appointments ensure we continue the high-quality work which started even before the pandemic, but which will prove vital as we recover from coronavirus.”

The Clinical Pharmacy Congress is back

Pharmacy in Practice is very proud to announce a media partnership for the first time with the Clinical Pharmacy Congress.

We will be running the Pharmacy in Practice podcast throughout the event.

We are looking forward to meeting friends old and new and sharing our training provider plans for the future.

Let the organisers tell you why you should attend the Clinical Pharmacy congress?

The Clinical Pharmacy Congress is the largest gathering for the clinical pharmacy profession in the UK taking place this 24th-25th September 2021 at ExCeL London.

Over two days, you can create a bespoke programme of content to reflect your unique training needs, meet face-to-face with vendors to find products and services that enable you brilliant patient care, and catch-up with like-minded peers, and colleagues.

If you work in clinical pharmacy or have an interest in the sector – CPC is the education event for you.

*Tickets are valued at £499+VAT, however, 3,200 education grants are available. Find out more at

Scottish GPs’ role in routine vaccination to end

The traditional role of Scotland’s family doctors in delivering vaccinations will come to an end in April next year.

The Scottish government, doctors’ trade union the BMA, NHS boards and Scotland’s integrated health and social care partnerships have just signed a joint memorandum of understanding (MoU) recommitting them to roll out a series of changes agreed in the 2018 GP contract.

Under the contract, responsibility for a number of tasks previously led by GPs will be delivered instead by NHS boards to reduce GPs’ workloads and allow their role to evolve into being ‘expert medical generalists’ supported by a multidisciplinary team of different clinical and non-clinical staff.

The pandemic has meant the timelines for the transfer of vaccination, routine management of people’s medicines and so-called ‘community treatment and care services’ – which includes management and monitoring of chronic conditions – will all cease to be led by GPs from the 1st April 2022.

The MoU, signed last Friday, states the commitments to transition services away from general practice – an approach that is unique to Scotland out of the UK nations – remain as strong as ever:

‘The principles and values expressed in it remain undiminished, and three years on, we now have considerable learning and experience to draw on to inform this next iteration of the MoU,’ the document states; going on to say:

‘Our key aim remains expanding and enhancing multidisciplinary team working to help support the role of GPs as expert medical generalists, to improve patient outcomes.

‘We remain committed to a vision of general practice and primary care being at the heart of the healthcare system where multidisciplinary teams come together to inform, empower, and deliver services in communities.’

Early in the pandemic, then Health Secretary Jeane Freeman pushed back the deadline for the transition by one year.

Signatories to the MoU state they recognise they have a ‘considerable way to go to fully deliver the GP contract offer commitments’.

In recent months, GP practices have played a central role in delivering the covid-19 vaccination programme, particularly in smaller towns and rural communities.

Under the agreement, health boards can commission GPs to be vaccinators in remote and rural places where they are the best option for local people.

A ‘vaccination transformation programme’, overseen by the Scottish government, requires all NHS boards to set up alternative arrangements for vaccinating people of all ages.

These have included the creation of vaccination centres – many of them operating from NHS board-owned health centres – enhancing the role of maternity clinicians in supporting vaccinations for pregnant women, and broadening the role of school vaccination teams.

This week the Scottish government published first details of the flu vaccination programme for this autumn and winter stating ‘GP practices are not the preferred delivery model for vaccinations’.

Under emergency pandemic legislation, community pharmacists and dentists are now allowed to deliver vaccinations, although the decision on whether to commission their support has been left up to NHS boards.

by John Macgill

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