Posted by: Anas Hassan25 SEP 2013
Today is World Pharmacist Day. As I wish that hopefully you are all having a happy one, I don't think there's ever been a better time for me to put a major suggestion forward as to how to make pharmacy's profile bigger in the eyes of the public.
Because, let's face it, we are still doing no full justice to ourselves as a profession when it comes to being recognised for what we do. Too many people still don't fully realise the activities that we have to undertake to enable quality healthcare.
I become frustrated at the number of times I read in the pharmacy press the kind of stories which run along the lines of: "pharmacists can do this" and "pharmacists can do that". I've said before in the past and I will say again - pharmacists are very talented people with a huge range of skills and abilities. So why aren't we being fully recognised for what we can do for the public?
It all comes down to public relations. Without it, we'd be nowhere. We are one of the first set of health professionals that are easily accessible to the public. I would like to see money spent specifically on nationwide media campaigns for television, radio, newspapers and online platforms like social media.
The campaigns would inform the public on the kind of services a pharmacist, in community predominantly, can provide - such as counselling on medicines, smoking cessation services, emergency hormonal contraception and so on.
Many people can be reached through all those forms of media that I listed above. People read their newspapers or glance through their smartphones. People have the radio on in the background. And people will at some point during the day watch the television.
I have never once seen, in my lifetime, a dedicated public health campaign focusing on what pharmacists can offer to the public. And that has got to change.