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Commission launched to examine pharmacy professional leadership across UK


Commission launched to examine pharmacy professional leadership across UK

By Neil Trainis

NHS England and Improvement has today told pharmacy professionals across the UK that it has launched a commission to examine how professional leadership in pharmacy can be strengthened in the four home nations.

The UK Commission on Pharmacy Professional Leadership will meet up to four times this year and report its recommendations by the end of 2022. It has invited patients, pharmacy professionals and those from other healthcare sectors to discuss ways in which improved leadership can effectively support pharmacy staff, professional regulation and pharmacy representation.

The Commission will hold a series of webinars in each of the four countries and establish working groups to examine five areas; leadership, policy and professionalism, regulatory support, professional education and training, regional, country and international relations and the scope of practice of pharmacy professionals.

In a letter to registered pharmacy professionals, the Commission’s co-chairs Nigel Clarke, the former chair of the General Pharmaceutical Council, and Jane Dacre, professor of medical education at University College London, said pharmacists and pharmacy technicians need to be well-equipped to deal with “significant changes” impacting their professions and insisted professional leadership “has never been so important.”

Clarke and Dacre said “strong, effective and well-respected professional leadership" representing "the clinical voice of pharmacy professionals” is needed to enable them to adapt to a range of “transformative changes,” including the expansion of their clinical roles, new education and training standards for pharmacists and regulatory and legislative changes which are broadening the role of pharmacy technicians.

The letter was also signed by David Webb, Alison Strath, Andrew Evans and Cathy Harrison, the chief pharmaceutical officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively.

Among the Commission’s members include Royal Pharmaceutical Society president Claire Anderson, GPhC chair Gisela Abbam, International Pharmaceutical Federation chief executive Catherine Duggan and former chief pharmaceutical officer for England Keith Ridge.

Anderson, whose organisation has come in for fierce criticism in recent months on several issues, said she was “delighted” the Commission will look at how professional leadership can develop the skills of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

“The RPS has and continues to champion developing clinical roles for pharmacists across all sectors to deliver the best possible care for patients. We welcome the opportunity to discuss how pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can be further empowered to increase their contribution to safe and effective patient care,” she said.

“I also welcome the inclusivity of the Commission across pharmacy, something which is reflected in our Pharmacy Vision work in Scotland, Wales and England to support pharmacy teams to use their clinical skills wherever there is a patient need. Inclusion of an international perspective in the Commission is something that is particularly close to my heart.

“It’s positive to see the Commission plans to report by the end of the year and we look forward to further details about its structure and timeline of activity.”

Clarke, who stepped down as GPhC chair this year, said “the widest engagement will be vital to support this.” However, pharmacy technician Samantha Quaye took to Twitter to question why her profession is “significantly outnumbered” on the Commission while independent contractor Mike Hewitson asked Clarke: “Why no community pharmacy leadership with lots of NHS orgs represented? This isn’t a good look.”

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