Pharmacists to play greater role in long-term care

Written by Tom Freeman on 21 August 2017 in News

Scottish Government publishes plans to integrate pharmacy more into health and care teams, with an advanced clinical role for pharmacists

Pharmacists will play a greater role in managing long-term conditions, according to a new strategy published by the Scottish Government.

With Scotland’s population increasingly frail and elderly, pharmacists can play a key role in making sure the medicines people are prescribed are kept to a safe level, ‘Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical Care’, published today, said.

This will include tailoring people’s use of medicines to prevent harm and playing a role in making sure people do not get stuck in hospital.

The strategy builds on the expansion of the role of the pharmacist seen in 2013’s Prescription for Excellence, which saw pharmacists handed increased powers to prescribe medicines for minor ailments.

The profession will now play an even greater clinical role and have access to more patient details to reflect its expertise.

This will include closer working with GP practices.

Pharmacy must adapt to reflect this in its use of technology and through better workforce planning, the new strategy said.

“It is my ambition to place people at the centre of what we propose and build a collaborative partnership,” said Scotland’s chief pharmaceutical officer Rose Marie Parr in her introduction.

“The commitments and actions in this strategy will help the public and professions alike realise the true value that pharmacy can bring to our communities and daily lives.”

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “This strategy is a vital part of our efforts to transform primary care, enabling more people to be treated at home or in the community and easing pressure on other services.

“It sets out our priorities for improvements over the next five years – helping to deliver our commitment that every GP practice will have access to a pharmacist with advanced clinical skills by 2021.”

Professional body the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland (RPS), said many of its manifesto asks had made it into the document, including greater access to health records.

RPS director for Scotland Alex MacKinnon said he was “delighted” with the strategy.

“Our Long Term Conditions policy called for pharmacists to have a much greater role in the managing and monitoring of people with LTCs. I am pleased to see this aspiration reflected in the strategy for all sectors of the profession,” he said.

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