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RPS Scotland wants all patient-facing pharmacists to prescribe by 2030

All pharmacists in a patient-facing role will be independent prescribers by 2030, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) in Scotland has anticipated. 

In a report published today (February 2) outlining RPS Scotland’s vision for pharmacy in 2030, the organisation described “a future that is achievable for every pharmacy team in Scotland by 2030”.

By that time, “all patient-facing pharmacists” will have “advanced clinical assessment and consultation skills” and the “vast majority” of community pharmacists will be independent prescribers, the report detailed.

The availability of a greater number of pharmacists who are independent prescribers “would not only be convenient for patients but would also increase much-needed capacity in the NHS”, the RPS added.

Among plans to develop the workforce, all pharmacists “will have equal access to post-graduate education” by 2030, with some deciding to complete higher degrees.

Meanwhile, professional development for pharmacy technicians “will be shaped by a suite of frameworks similar to those for pharmacists”, the report added.

Jointly published by RPS Scotland and the National Pharmacy Technician Group Scotland (NPTGS), the Pharmacy 2030 report was co-produced with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working in all healthcare settings across Scotland, including, community pharmacy, hospitals, and GP practices.


“Pharmacy First service to be further developed”


The NHS Scotland Pharmacy First service will be “a service of particular importance in improving access to care”, as the public’s “first port of call for common clinical conditions”, according to the report.

As more and more pharmacists train to become independent prescribers, and develop “into advanced generalist roles”, this will enable the Pharmacy First service to expand and “be further developed to include additional conditions”, the report detailed.


Focus on digital technology


RPS Scotland believes that the biggest change that will have revolutionised healthcare by 2030 will be the introduction of “a single shared patient record”, into which "every professional both reads and writes information, using their existing clinical system as entry point”.

This would “release clinicians’ capacity, improve safety and enable the provision of better care for patients”, RPS Scotland added.

The report also emphasised the importance of advances in “digital and technology developments to enable whole team working” as a key factor in driving change in the future of pharmacy.

Electronic prescribing, the transfer of prescriptions and medicines administrations systems would be available in all settings by 2030, the report added, while equipment would also be provided to enable “patient-facing digital services including digital consultations and remote monitoring”.


“Pharmacy technicians will lead medicines management processes”


Commenting on the publication of the report, RPS director for Scotland 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,” she added.

Meanwhile, NPTGS chair Melanie Bryan welcomed the report and its focus on developing the pharmacy technician role.

“The vision sets out that in 2030, pharmacy technicians will lead medicines management processes, both in technical roles focused on safe and efficient supply of medicines, and in patient-focused roles to support patients’ use of medicines,” she said.

The report will be circulated with partners across the NHS, Scottish government and Holyrood, the RPS said, to inform them of the “advances that are needed to maximise the potential of pharmacy across the health and social care system”.


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