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Prescription for excellence should go viral in England

I am fascinated and excited by the actions the Scottish Government is taking for pharmacy. “Prescription for excellence” is a wonderful plan agreed by the Government to ensure all pharmacists qualify, after their graduation, as supplementary or independent prescribers. We must ensure such a plan is implemented in England.

Access to treatments is one of the issues our patients are facing and it is one of the challenges the NHS is facing. Hospital pharmacists are well positioned to lead clinics within wards, and enable safe prescribing and effective communication between hospitals, GP surgeries and pharmacies. However, pharmacists have the potential to run clinics in the community and therefore enable our patients to have easier access to treatments, which is essential to guarantee continuity of care.

Competency, leadership, knowledge and skills are all factors required for this practice. It is of paramount importance that appropriate training is undertaken by both pharmacists and pharmacy teams to satisfy the increasing health needs.

Training boards and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Faculty have a fundamental role in developing professionals and offer a fantastic opportunity to place the profession in a strong strategic position and to demonstrate what pharmacy can deliver. The role of preregistration tutors in shaping pharmacists for the future should not be forgotten. I would like to see better co-operation in between schools of pharmacy, the RPS Faculty and the General Pharmaceutical Council to guarantee success for new students.

We know most patients go to see their doctor to receive a treatment and that others go to see their pharmacists hoping to receive a treatment available over the counter (OTC). This limited practice is affecting the way the public see the profession. Enabling pharmacist prescribers to safely prescribe medicines is what our patients need.

The role of pharmacy teams has always been seen secondary to pharmacists by many patients. Pharmacy teams are doing a good job but there is much more to be done to develop them and to gain public trust towards them. I would like to see pharmacy teams empowered, knowledgeable and confident as “OTC specialists”. I would like to see a professional registration and compulsory professional development for dispensing and counter assistants, and more effective use of accuracy checking technicians.

I would like to see pharmacy teams championing pharmacy.

“Prescription for excellence” must go viral in England. It is an excellent opportunity to change and improve the way we practice.

Luca Viani

English Pharmacy Board Election Candidate

Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.11138532

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