By Neil Trainis
Pharmacists' Defence Association chairman Mark Koziol told the Pharmacy Show today that the debate around supervision should no longer focus on whether a pharmacist should be present in every pharmacy and called for "radical new thinking" about how pharmacies should be run in the future.
Mr Koziol (pictured), who was joined during a panel discussion by Company Chemists' Association chief executive Malcolm Harrison, National Pharmacy Association vice-chair Nick Kaye and Royal Pharmaceutical Society chief executive Paul Bennett, said the decades-old debate on supervision now needed to be conducted in terms of what he described as a high street "health centre" and "clinical team" approach.
"You absolutely need to have that professional person, that pharmacist in the pharmacy... the notion that a pharmacist may not be available or will not be there or will be locked up in the consultation room is just not appropriate at all. But this particular stage, having the discussion about supervision now is actually an obstacle that's in the way," he said.
"What I believe we should actually be doing which is far more helpful is thinking about what we want the practice of community pharmacy to do in the future.
"If we start thinking about ourselves as health centres on the high street where we have a clinical team including pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and others, suddenly the whole debate about supervision is framed in an entirely different way.
"It no longer has the emotion that's attached to it through considering the idea of running a pharmacy around a pharmacist. It's almost fallen by the wayside. If we start to look at ourselves as health centres on the high street, we might want to have a look at that radical change about figuring out where to put these health centres and how many pharmacists we want in them."
One delegate said the key to supervision is securing "serious" funding to upskill the team and insisted there was only so much contractors can do through ‘goodwill.’ Mr Bennett said a "robust workforce plan" was needed.
Meanwhile, Mr Koziol challenged pharmacy technicians to "step up to the plate" and explain the extent to which they are willing to take on responsibilities in the pharmacy.
He also threatened to reopen the recent public spat between the PDA and CCA around the reasons for temporary pharmacy closures by suggesting pharmacies "up and down the UK" were closing because of "profit-led decisions" rather than workforce shortages, as has been claimed by employer bodies.
That prompted Mr Harrison, who agreed with Mr Koziol that any supervision changes should not have unintended consequences, to pointedly insist he ‘doesn’t recognise’ the unintended consequences suggested by the latter.