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RPS Wales and Scotland publish manifestos ahead of 2021 devolved parliamentary elections

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales and Scotland have published manifestos with eight asks of political parties and candidates standing for election in 2021.

election ballot paper

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The Royal Pharmaceutical Society have asked election candidates in Wales and Scotland to visit their local pharmacists, and share their plans to support the profession

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) in Wales and in Scotland have published their manifestos ahead of the 2021 parliamentary elections in their respective nations.

Each manifesto sets out eight asks of political parties and candidates standing for election.

Within Manifesto for Pharmacy in Wales is a call for Welsh citizens to have access to emerging advanced medical therapies and pharmacogenomic therapies. Pharmacists, it says, have an important role in the governance and management of emerging therapies, and the manifesto calls for more investment into pharmacist training and service development in this area.

The Welsh manifesto also asks for further integration of pharmacist independent prescribing into routine NHS care, across all settings. RPS Wales also wants to see parity of access to NHS-funded wellbeing support for community and primary care pharmacists, and the acceleration of digital prescribing solutions across Wales.

The Future of Pharmacy in Scotland calls for pharmacists and their teams to be involved in “identifying and delivering solutions for reducing health inequalities”. Local pharmacy teams, it says, can play an active role in breaking down barriers, and can provide “vital services” around social prescribing, tackling obesity and improving health literacy. Existing examples, it says, can be built on and further utilised to reduce health inequities across the nation.

RPS Scotland also says pharmacy needs funding and resources to provide seven-day hospital clinical services. Seven-day services, it says, reduce variation in patient care and improve patient safety. But it says that without “significant” funding, it is “a challenge to develop 7-day clinical and specialist services to meet the 24/7 need in hospital”.

Both manifestos call for protected — and funded — learning and development time. Pharmacy workforce planning, RPS Scotland says, “rarely considers the time and cost of education and training”, even though the need for pharmacist expertise is increasing as managing patients’ health becomes ever more complex. And read and write access to the patient record, across all settings, is a priority for both nations.

Election candidates are asked to visit their local pharmacists, and share with constituents their plans to support the pharmacy profession.

Suzanne Scott-Thomas, chair of the RPS’s Welsh Pharmacy Board, said it was “vital that the recent challenges and learning of the pandemic are built upon”.

“While pharmacy has benefited from the policies of the current Welsh government over recent years, we must continue to outline a clear course of action to the future Welsh administration so that citizens are able to increasingly benefit from the skills and knowledge of the pharmacy team.”

Jonathan Burton, chair of the RPS Scottish Pharmacy Board, said that while much of the Scottish manifesto calls for improvements to infrastructure, “there is also a focus on enabling pharmacists to contribute their skills to improving the health of our people.

“There are many examples of pharmacy teams providing services that address health inequalities, for example, and we would like to see more involvement of pharmacists in setting health policy — alongside support to enable these services to continue and be disseminated in other communities, where they would be beneficial,” he said. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2020.20208490

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