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PDA calls for Royal College of Pharmacists in leadership response

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PDA calls for Royal College of Pharmacists in leadership response

By Neil Trainis


The Pharmacists’ Defence Association has today published a series of recommendations it believes should inform the work of the UK Commission on Pharmacy Professional Leadership, including the establishment of a Royal College of Pharmacists to oversee the training and formation of practitioners in pharmacy.

In its 17-page response to the commission, which was compiled last month but only now made public, the PDA considers the direction pharmacy professional leadership should take as the Commission, set up by the four chief pharmaceutical officers to examine how leadership in the profession can be strengthened, continues to gather evidence before it reports its findings at the end of the year.

The PDA said a Royal College of Pharmacists would “be responsible for the stewardship” of training as well as undergraduate and postgraduate education, allowing it to “play an important leadership, advocacy and standards-setting role to support the development of pharmacy practice” while also managing risk and supporting patients’ safety.

The recommendation, if implemented, would water down the General Pharmaceutical Council’s role given it is currently responsible for setting the education and training requirements for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy support staff.

The PDA, however, said that when it came to postgraduate education, accreditation and the development of the assurance framework should still be carried out by the GPhC and Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland. It also said the College should “establish the distinct scope of practice for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, ensuring that they can work towards a common purpose". 

“This will support their discrete areas of activity and ensure that they are working in a complimentary and symbiotic way. This is a role for the Royal College and not the government,” the PDA said, calling for the new body to be included “within the current framework of Royal Colleges” and maintain “powerful links” with organisations that support science and innovation in medicines.

The report called on the Commission to take more time to carry out its work amid concerns the review is being rushed and engage with a wider range of people given the futures of 90,000 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are at stake.

The PDA also reiterated its concern about a lack of clarity around the Commission’s ultimate aims and told it professional leadership should ensure pharmacists’ skills “are applied to best effect” now and in the future. Insisting “no one body in pharmacy can or should claim to be the leadership body,” the PDA said leadership should be “distributed” across the profession, driven by “established credible organisations in pharmacy working more collaboratively.”

“In this way, a mechanism could be found that enables the profession to speak with one voice on common agenda issues on behalf of all pharmacists, whilst also still allowing effective representation of more specialist niche issues” the PDA said.

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