RPS launches LTC campaign

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has launched a new campaign to improve the care of people with long-term conditions through the better use of pharmacists in England, Scotland and Wales.

The Society believes that as the third largest health profession in the UK, the skills and expertise of pharmacists must be maximised within the multidisciplinary team to provide the best care for patients, or the NHS risks being unable to meet the unprecedented increase in demand for its services. An average one in three people across Great Britain have at least one long-term condition. Caring for them accounts for around 50 per cent of GP appointments and approximately 70 per cent of the health and social care budget across the country.

The Society has published policy documents in England, Scotland and Wales that focus on how the role of the pharmacist can be enhanced to prevent, identify, treat and support people with long-term conditions and has made four key calls to action:

  1. Pharmacists providing direct patient care should have the opportunity to train to become a prescriber. To enable this change the RPS is asking for the law to change to allow practising prescribing pharmacists to mentor pharmacists who want to become prescribers.
  2. The patient journey will be made easier by enabling pharmacists to directly refer to appropriate health and social care professionals, improving patient access to care and reducing the number of unnecessary appointments.
  3. Patients will benefit from further integration of pharmacists into their multidisciplinary team, ensuring support at every stage of their journey, from prevention through to treatment and management of their long-term condition(s).
  4. All pharmacists directly involved in patient care should have full read and write access to the patient health record, with patient consent, in the interest of high quality, safe and effective patient care.

Commenting on the launch, Suzanne Scott-Thomas, chair of RPS Wales, said: “The challenge of meeting the demands of long-term conditions has brought together a coalition of support to move this agenda forward. This policy has been developed to instigate action at national and local levels and marks the start of our commitment to improving care for patients with long-term conditions. We look forward to working with our colleagues and translating their support and goodwill into meaningful change for patients and the NHS.”

The RPS launched its campaign in Wales at the 6th Annual Medicines Safety Conference. A separate Parliamentary event on the 30 November at the House of Commons will mark the launch in England with further activity in Scotland on 1 December at the RPS Board Strategy Day.

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