This week, I met a couple of locums who were engaged to work in one of my pharmacies. Neither of them possessed an electronic prescription service (EPS) smartcard, or seemed remotely concerned that they didn’t have one – they perceived it as hassle and unnecessary.
This surprised me somewhat, because I consider being able to access the Spine a crucial part of being a community pharmacist. Are we really in a place where someone presenting for work in a community pharmacy still thinks it is acceptable not to have a smartcard?
I was fortunate enough to attend, as an observer, a recent national pharmacy conference. There was a guy – a brave guy from the NHS EPS team – presenting to the assembled pharmacists.
He gave a great presentation, in the face of a typically hostile pharmacy audience, about EPS and the Spine. He talked a lot of sense, and saw through the usual gripes about technical issues unrelated to the Spine.
Whatever we think of the system, it is what we have, and we should get behind it by using it properly. All our feedback and usage data helps make it better – and, crucially, will make it the system we want it to be.
The audience however, was more keen to tell him why they didn’t like it at all, and why they didn’t support it because it wasn’t what they’d wanted at the start.
It made me reflect on what I consider to be one of my great frustrations with community pharmacy. Why do we struggle to make the most of the services and opportunities we already have?
Why do we instead choose to moan because we don’t have what we believe we want, or deserve?
There are loads of examples within community pharmacy practice that highlight this problem – medicines use reviews (MURs), local minor ailment schemes and the new medicine service (NMS) to name a few.
Of course, there are ways that all of these services could have been differently designed. But we should be mindful of spending so much time complaining about what they are that we fail to deliver them consistently.
I’m sure if everyone in community pharmacy was fully – and publicly – behind what we have, and delivered it brilliantly and consistently no matter who they worked for or where, we’d all get much closer to getting the things we ultimately want.
The Area Manager has worked for all of the large multiples
We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information