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RPS Scotland proposes 'generalist' role for pharmacists by 2030

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RPS Scotland proposes 'generalist' role for pharmacists by 2030

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in Scotland will be able to pursue a “core generalist role” and work across a number of care settings by 2030, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland has said.

In a new vision document titled Pharmacy 2030, RPS Scotland describes a future in which “the traditional boundaries between pharmacy sectors will be broken down” and pharmacy teams will collaborate “within pharmacy and with the wider multidisciplinary team”.

The RPS says pharmacists will “take leadership of prescribing in all care settings,” with “all patient-facing pharmacists” trained as independent prescribers and supporting access to healthcare through initiatives like the Pharmacy First service.

Pharmacists will not longer be “described by their location” and will instead be defined “by their skills,” says RPS Scotland, saying that care “will be planned around patients”.

Meanwhile, pharmacy technicians are described as taking on much of the medicines management work typically carried out by pharmacists at present.

The document says most pharmacists will work in patient-facing roles, assessing, prescribing and reviewing medicines for patients, with a particular focus on patients taking “high risk medicines” and those who have “complex therapeutic needs”.

Meanwhile, the whole pharmacy team will take a “person-centred” approach to patient care and offer a “holistic” service that gives patients and their families or carers greater agency in decisions affecting their health.

Digital technology

RPS Scotland says the use of digital technology will be key to facilitating this “whole-team working,” adding: “The biggest digital transformation of pharmacy and healthcare by 2030 will be the introduction of a single shared electronic patient record across all health and care services.

“This will be a universal patient record into which every professional both reads and writs information, using their existing clinical system as the entry point.”

The document says workforce planning will proceed throughout Scotland “to ensure that the right skill mix and staffing levels are present in every pharmacy team”.

“This will optimise the roles of pharmacy team members, maximise the time for clinical care, motivate staff and deliver optimal care for patients.”

RPS Scotland says workforce planning will also look at improved career development pathways “for all members of the pharmacy team”.

Key enablers

The document calls for a number of “key enablers” to achieve the 2030 vision, including the creation of a single patient care record, making electronic prescribing available in all settings, more support for prescribing training and the introduction of protected learning time for pharmacy teams.

RPS Scotland director Clare Morrison said: “In our vision, pharmacists will be recognised as medicines experts who take leadership of prescribing in all care settings and optimise therapeutic outcomes for patients.

“This means prescribing, monitoring, reviewing, adjusting and stopping medicines, underpinned by empowering patients to make shared decisions.”

Scottish pharmacy board chair Andrew Carruthers said: “By working with partners across health and social care, we will ensure pharmacy continues to deliver improved health outcomes for people, across all care settings, long into the future.”

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