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Our profession will never be the same

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Our profession will never be the same

Jeremy Meader looks forward to 2022 with optimism and hope for a new era in pharmacy…

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that pharmacy in the future will never be the same again after the challenges and seismic change we have seen over the last two years.

The dynamic has evolved changing both attitudes and working practices, and in the future, pharmacy will likely continue to move away from traditional dispensing and into new and innovative solutions, with a renewed focus on patient-centred care. Pharmacy teams have continued to navigate their way through probably one of the toughest times ever experienced and are likely to experience again, but as a powerful collective, they have come out stronger than ever.

The UK’s extensive network of community pharmacies may not have been mobilised to its full potential to help deliver the biggest mass vaccination programme in history, but collective resilience and fight is paving the way for a brighter future for local communities post-pandemic. Indeed, pharmacists will now play an instrumental role as part of a broader collaboration of community placed healthcare teams. Restrictions on face-to-face consultations with GP practices has seen the public discover a new-found respect for the value of pharmacy teams, as they actively seek out healthcare treatments and support for themselves and those closest to them.

Consultations within the pharmacy setting in the future should aim to identify, prevent and resolve both acute and chronic conditions, promote health education and champion patient-focused services that ultimately improve health and wellbeing in local communities. In order for pharmacy teams to generate capacity to adapt to this future role, workflow evaluation will more than likely be necessary and ongoing and sustained development of skill sets needed to meet increased patient demand.

On the other hand, enhanced patient care will also be more important than ever as we move into a new era of healthcare in the heart of local communities – continuing to support them to our best ability. This concept of advanced pharmaceutical care isn’t new, however in real terms, a post-pandemic society will seek to tap into such services. Accelerated and deepened patient and pharmacy relationships will be critical to the future of care and will ultimately deliver clinically rewarding outcomes.

As the healthcare system as a whole reflects on the past two years; one thing is certain, the role of community pharmacy has forever changed. As we continually look to improve the support, we offer our Numark membership, we too have had to expedite developments in our propositions, products and services in order to ensure that patients and pharmacies alike are supported in the right way, with the right tools.

This year, technology and automation will be a critical enabler that will allow community pharmacies to deliver services more efficiently in the future. Not only do the introduction of such services provide increased opportunities for renumeration, but they also support the flow of patients back into pharmacy. As the market continues to shift and move to a more dynamic approach, pharmacy teams must now be innovative in their service propositions or risk being left behind.

For this very reason, we continue to drive investment into innovative dispensing solutions such as Golden Tote, business-transforming consultations with and patient ease and access with our state of the art repeat prescription app, Hey Pharmacist. We also continue to deliver thought-provoking campaigns that seek to position pharmacy front of mind for government and policy makers – we will not relent in our fight for fair and equitable funding.

So, as we look further ahead into 2022 with optimism and hope for a better future, we will continue to champion community pharmacy and support them to deliver above and beyond, now and long into the future.

Jeremy Meader is the managing director of Numark.

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