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Common goals and a common vision

By Sarah Carter, PhD

By working together, pharmacists can avoid duplication of work, celebrate leadership and disseminate excellence and best practice


I have just returned from the annual joint conference of the United Kingdom Clinical Pharmacy Association and the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists. A key theme running through the conference, held in Leeds on 14–16 May 2010, was partnership.

Of course the conference in itself is an fine example of a successful partnership — this was the sixth year that the Guild and the UKCPA have jointly organised a conference for their members. Delegates from both organisations networked, collaborated and socialised — and the event was richer for it.

It left me thinking about how many practitioners are working in relative isolation, achieving excellence in their practice and implementing innovative solutions to healthcare problems and not sharing their achievements with the rest of the pharmacy community. Working in partnership can avoid duplication of work, celebrate leadership and disseminate excellence and best practice for the benefit of patients.

The Specialist Curriculum Group is one example of effective and successful partnership working. It incorporates over 25 clinical and non-clinical groups and other interested parties from primary and secondary care within the profession. These parties have worked together since 2009 to develop national curricula for advanced practice, ensuring standardisation across all specialisms. They share a common need and a common vision to pursue their ambitions.

Part of my role as general secretary of the UKCPA is to develop and foster partnerships that benefit the association’s members, support advanced practice and, ultimately, result in better patient care. These partnerships will be within the profession, such as with other specialist groups or those with an education focus like the Competency Development and Evaluation Group.

The UKCPA is already establishing working groups with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and other organisations to focus on accreditation of advanced practice and developing education support.

Furthermore, there is much scope for working with those outside the profession. Advanced practitioners continue to support patients and patient care groups to bring about real improvements in health. We can also collaborate with other healthcare professions.

In fact, I am currently working with the Royal Veterinary College, combining our expertise and experience on using wiki-based software, to provide a medicines information platform. We have a lot to learn from other professions, but also a lot to share.

As someone who has recently started in a new role I know how important it is to talk to people, learn from their experiences, tap into their knowledge and share ideas. I see partnership working as a key mechanism for strengthening the profession in the short and longer term.

Innovating and sustaining a central focus for professional development will be crucial if we are to achieve the clinical goals set forth by the UK health departments —whatever flavouring the new government may introduce.

My challenge, and indeed the challenge for the profession as a whole, is to identify common needs, common goals and a common vision to enable efficient and effective means of collaboration.

 

Sarah Carter is general secretary of the United Kingdom Clinical Pharmacy Association

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist URI: 11012788

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