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Super-pharmacists or pseudo-doctors?

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Mike ThompsonThis week, we received an invitation from Isle of Wight Local Pharmaceutical Committee to the launch of a set of extended pharmacy services, including screening for hepatitis B and C, plus vaccination for hep B, and screening for HIV and syphilis among at-risk groups.

Last week, we published an article by Alan Rogers suggesting that community pharmacists don’t care enough about pharmaceutical care and quoting Linda Strand — one of the originators of the concept — as having said: “To wait for the government to dictate or force us into a role they think is appropriate is about as unprofessional as we can get.”

Rightly or wrongly my immediate take on Mr Rogers’s article was that he thinks pharmacists are being derailed from their real mission to provide pharmaceutical care by Government-inspired public health initiatives. And my thought after seeing the invitation was that he and Dr Strand might be holding on to the past rather than looking to the future, and that things have already moved on.

It’s not my place as an editor to decide what, or who, is right, but it is my role to ask questions in the hope that others will take up the discussion and, hopefully, move the profession forwards.

How can pharmacists satisfy both the public health demand for pseudo-doctors (cheaper) and their professional ambition to be super-pharmacists (more expensive)?

Mike Thompson
Editor

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