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Home  »   Latest News   »   RPS – English Pharmacy Board 2022 candidate responses on key topics

RPS – English Pharmacy Board 2022 candidate responses on key topics

The PDA invited candidates for the English Pharmacy Board 2022 elections to let us know their views on some key topics, see their responses here.

Mon 25th April 2022 The PDA

The PDA invited candidates for the English Pharmacy Board elections to let us know their views on some key topics. Read the full article here and the responses from candidates below

1. The future of pharmacy

What are candidates’ views on the future of pharmacy?

Adebayo ADEGBITE My view on the future of Pharmacy is making sure every pharmacist and member of the various Pharmacy teams out there practise at the very top of their profession which ultimately benefits patients and other members of the public.

If elected to the English Pharmacy Board, I will ensure the RPS will work alongside other pharmacy associations like the PDA to ensure pharmacists in all sectors- academia, community, hospital, general practice and industry are supported with training like Independent Prescribing(IP) and continuing professional development tools and other support in their practice to be able to deliver the highest level of patient care.

As pharmacists of the future are expected to deliver even more clinical services to the public, I will encourage the RPS to discuss and support PDA initiatives like the PDA “Road Map” and “Wider Than Medicines”.

With the RPS’ recent launch of “Transforming the future of pharmacy practice” in England; “Pharmacy 2030: A Professional Vision” in Scotland and “Pharmacy: Delivering A Healthier Wales” in Wales, these are exciting times to be part of the RPS Boards deciding on strategies in the three nations for excellence in pharmacy practice across all sectors of Pharmacy.

Emma BOXER ——————-

I think we are currently experiencing a pivotal and exciting time in pharmacy. There are more opportunities than ever before and we are working, I believe, in the most diverse way we have in our profession’s history. With opportunity also comes risk and I think that to ensure we remain on an upward trajectory we must ensure we invest heavily in training and education for all.

I see pharmacy as a profession continuing to develop to a valued part of the health service across all sectors and across all levels of seniority. We must become a profession who strongly values and advocates for itself and its development.

Sharon “Sibby” BUCKLE  ——————-

Wherever there is a medicine, there should a pharmacist be’ 

We pharmacists are the experts on medicines – not Doctors, not Nurses, not Dentists – Pharmacists. This has been my mantra since first elected onto the EPB, which thankfully is gaining traction. The introduction of services such as NMS, access to the SCR and the GP referral to CPCS have been important stages on our journey of recognition.

Enlarging the number of Pharmacist Independent prescribers is a next step, as is full interoperability of GP and Pharmacy systems, with read/write access for pharmacists into their patient records. We need to continue to integrate community pharmacists into the primary care MDT and to be recognised as key members of the team.

Service provision, better utilising our clinical skills is our future, moving away from the current supply based model which is no longer fit for purpose. All pharmacists must be prescriber ready, thus enlarging the prescriber base, supporting the already overstretched NHS and improving patient care.

——————-

Nabila CHAUDHRI I think there is huge potential here, particularly with all Pharmacists graduating becoming prescribers. I think the potential here has been largely untapped in the community setting. Those that do prescribe, do so with very little autonomy or decision making, which in my mind really defeats the object of being a prescriber.

I am personally very vocal about Pharmacists being undersold, and not really used to our full capacity. I have been able to really position Pharmacists as experts within our current organisation and hope to do much wider work in the future. I think the key to this is really influencing those that are decision-makers in healthcare. We need to demonstrate we have as much value as all of the other healthcare professionals by stretching out of our comfort zone and showing what we are actually capable of.

Brendon JIANG ——————-

We have cause to be optimistic about the future of pharmacy but there are structural and strategic obstacles to overcome. The funding crisis in community pharmacy must be addressed to avoid a further erosion of standards, worsening safety and increasing pressure. Workforce transformation must be handled deftly as we progress to a more clinical future.

The recently announced partnership between the RPS and the Kings Fund to develop a 10 year vision for pharmacy in England is promising. Particularly if England can gain the same support from government as the Welsh (2018) and Scottish (2021) strategies.

——————-

Ewan MAULE Agree that pharmacy is at a crossroads, particularly in England, and that there are opportunities ahead if we play our cards right. I outlined some of this in a recent blog post: https://t.co/aCL37JP68d . The announcement of a joint vision being produced by the RPS in conjunction with the Kings Fund is encouraging in this regard. The delegation of community pharmacy commissioning to ICSs is one opportunity, but this on its own without a comprehensive revision of the community pharmacy activity based contract will not be enough. Community pharmacy can be the front door to the health service but in doing so it needs freeing up from some of the current constraints, and it needs better support and leadership particularly in respect of workforce. A transition from where we are to where we need to be will not be easy, but it will be necessary. As headlines I would like to see

  • Community pharmacies have patient lists as the basis for remuneration
  • Full read/write access to patient records
  • A full suite of clinical services commissioned, including a mix of both acute/low acuity illnesses along with long term condition prescribing and monitoring
  • Community pharmacy treated by commissioners as essential providers of local healthcare, and supported as such. This would include supporting the development of the community pharmacy workforce in a way which ensured adequate levels of recruitment and retention
  • Community pharmacy integrated into local ‘place based pharmacy leadership groups’ along with PCNs, secondary care and commissioning medicines optimisation teams
Anna MAXWELL No response yet received
Sherifat MUHAMMAD KAMAL There’s loads of opportunities for interventions and diversity into different career pathways as well as researches into patients care , but unfortunately the care of the pharmacy and it’s workforce much needed support might affect this opportunity.
Sian RETALLICK No response yet received
Andre YEUNG No response yet received

2. Safer Pharmacies

Will candidates seek to have the RPS support the Safer Pharmacies Charter?

Adebayo ADEGBITE Patient safety is paramount and in pharmacy that can only be achieved if all pharmacies are run safely. As such, if elected to the English Pharmacy Board, I will have absolutely no hesitation in asking the RPS to support the PDA’s “Safer Pharmacies Charter” as a bare minimum starting point to ensure pharmacies of the present and future are and remain safe.

The RPS President recently issued a statement on the importance of all pharmacists being offered AND taking appropriate rest breaks. Rest breaks by pharmacists, both mental and physical, is a crucial part of ensuring pharmacists practice safely and ensure patient safety. I would encourage the RPS to work with the GPhC to ensure pharmacists’ rest breaks are uninterrupted, enforced and recorded with the responsibility lying with the employer  to ensure they are taken.

Adequate staffing including appropriately qualified and trained staff is important in ensuring pharmacies are safe so if elected I will work with the RPS to ensure minimum staff levels and expertise are encouraged and monitored. In community and hospital settings this will minimize self-checking of prescriptions.

Pharmacists present in pharmacies and having their professional judgement respected is also important for safer pharmacies.

Emma BOXER ——————-

I will absolutely be advocating for the RPS support of the safer pharmacies charter. Many of the issues discussed in the charter have personally affected myself and my staff daily in some of my roles. Many pharmacists I have spoken to in recent years have been continually put in situations where they do not feel confident in the safety of the service they are providing, often due to understaffing, which leads to self-checking, high rates of stress and error and an overall less safe service for our patients. Pharmacists should also be entitled to and take breaks for their own mental health and for the overall safety of the pharmacy. By over working our pharmacists and undervaluing our profession we will create an environment that staff do not want to continue to work in, and patients will not feel safe and confident in accessing.

This is a very exciting time for pharmacists, and we should be discussing how we can be innovative and driving quality improvement. These positive changes cannot happen if our staff feel as though they are treading water just to survive their working day. All pharmacists have a right to feel they are providing and involved in a safe and effective service, and all patients have the right to access safe healthcare. I have personally lost colleagues to other professions as they felt this was something they had been unable to achieve in their workplace, and it is truly devastating that we are unnecessarily loosing valued pharmacists.

Having the RPS publicly and strongly support this charter and encourage all employers to work towards these steps is an essential part of the near future if we wish to cultivate a positive working environment that professionals feel proud to contribute to.

Sharon “Sibby” BUCKLE  ——————-

Yes!
The 7 commitments in the Safer Pharmacies Charter are:
– No self checking
– Safe staffing
– Access to a pharmacist
– Adequate rest
– Respect for Professional Judgement
– Raising Concerns
– Physically safe

The RPS sets the Gold standard for professional practice, NOT the minimum.  The above 7 commitments should be a given for all practicing pharmacists, and embedded in the RPS Code of Practice

——————-

Nabila CHAUDHRI In a previous life, I worked as an inspector for the GPHC and have witnessed firsthand the diversity in standards. I have also had experience working as a locum. Anything we can do to support the safety of the supply of medicines should be welcomed. I think we have particularly felt the strain during the pandemic with varying levels of support staff and the maintenance of accessibility within pharmacies. So in summary, yes I would be in full support of this and any other measures we think would improve standards and maintain consistency.
Brendon JIANG ——————-

Safe pharmacies underpin patient safety and decent working conditions. The PDA’s Safer Pharmacies Charter shares ambitions with the RPS’ Workforce Wellbeing campaign. If elected I will seek to understand why it has not been formally supported.

——————-

Ewan MAULE If we are to achieve the ambitions I mention above we must have confidence that pharmacies are operating in a safe and effective manner. Public confidence has rightly increased since the start of the pandemic and in order to maintain that position it is vital that safety is paramount. I would hope again that the local commissioning of community pharmacy will help in this regard – seeing pharmacies as essential providers of healthcare means there will be an inherent commitment to maintaining safety and quality, and where that is failing commissioners will intervene.

The RPS has an important role in providing the public with confidence in the quality of pharmacy services in all sectors and I would, if elected, seek to ensure the EPB did everything in its power to direct the organisation to ensure its public and professional facing communications focussed on safety as a priority.

As the safer pharmacies charter has been in existence for a number of years yet, and the RPS has not yet (presumably) supported the charter then I would be seeking to understand why not. If there were valid reasons for this then I would expect that the RPS would have a robust alternative plan to address the issues experienced by many of its members on a daily basis.

Anna MAXWELL No response yet received
Sherifat MUHAMMAD KAMAL Safety is an important aspect of healthcare delivery, as we ensure patients safety is as important as pharmacists safety, rest breaks, adequate holidays, pay salaries and wages on time, all this ensures we have a pharmacist and pharmacy safe for patients care .
Sian RETALLICK No response yet received
Andre YEUNG No response yet received

3. Remote Supervision

Will candidates commit to opposing remote supervision?

Adebayo ADEGBITE I believe a pharmacy is only a pharmacy with a pharmacist present as allowed by the current Responsible Pharmacist regulations with the maximum 2-hour absence in a 24-hour period allowed to provide clinical and other professional services away from the pharmacy premises.

I am therefore committed to ensuring the RPS opposes remote supervision. The COVID-19 pandemic showed the general public the value of the pharmacy network with pharmacists present open for a variety of convenient hours including early mornings, late nights and weekends.

Pharmacists present in pharmacies were able to help patients and customers unable to access GP and other services and this should be promoted as our strength.

Remote supervision will devalue the pharmacy profession and will lead to a reduction in patient safety. Pharmacy currently has a very good patient safety record and pharmacists present in the pharmacy contributes towards this.

The RPS has previously clarified it opposes remote supervision except in “exceptional circumstances”. If elected,I will ensure the RPS position is made very clear in that it definitely opposes remote supervision and each pharmacy premises should have a Responsible Pharmacist(RP) to ensure safe and effective supply of medicines to patients.

Emma BOXER ——————-

I do not agree that introducing remote supervision would be a positive step for our profession. I think there can be many nuanced conversations around this topic however I believe there are many points that would make it unrealistic and even unsafe for most working pharmacies.

In particular I worry for equal access for patients. Patients should be able to enter a pharmacy and talk to their pharmacist for help and advice, this is something that holds great value in the community for both us and our patients. We have more opportunities to make meaningful interventions and to build trusting relationships. If our pharmacists weren’t present how would this look? Remote online consultations? Many patients may either choose to not interact in this manner, or this may not be accessible to them if they do not have internet access, smart devices or disabilities that make online interaction difficult.

I also feel we also would see a reduction in successful team building and interprofessional relationships. Many staff members in the pharmacy will utilize the pharmacist for queries, help and support. If the pharmacist is not physically present this adds a layer of difficulty and separation that can only negatively impact the team and patient safety. Overall, I can strongly commit to opposing the introduction of remote supervision.

Sharon “Sibby” BUCKLE  ——————-

Yes! 

Supervision is embedded in legislation, but the regulator (GPhC) has an important role to play in the interpretation of such regulation. Supervision has changed over the last few decades, from a pharmacist having to personally acknowledge the sale of every P medicine, to now being in a position to intervene if necessary, but with the Pharmacy assistants empowered and trained to conduct such transactions, whilst the Pharmacist is present in the Pharmacy.

One of the biggest strengths of Pharmacy has been the accessibility, availability and approachability of the community pharmacist. We jeopardise that at our peril. However we must make full use of our highly trained and competent healthcare teams, from healthcare assistants and dispensers to Pharm Techs and Accredited Checking Technicians to enable us to provide the services of the future.

——————-

Nabila CHAUDHRI My community colleagues feel quite strongly about opposing remote supervision. Since it is not my area of expertise I would certainly support those that would be affected by this, potentially negatively on a daily basis. I think there needs to be a shift in the role within community pharmacy, but I am not convinced this is the way forward.
Brendon JIANG ——————-

I oppose remote supervision.

——————-

Ewan MAULE Whilst the definition of ‘supervision’ and the implications of this have been problematic for a decade or more, it is clear that some modernisation of the legislation is required to keep pace with the development of the pharmacy profession and the services it provides. One of the main challenges I have faced in my role as an ICS lead pharmacist has been freeing community pharmacists to be able to engage with new developments and services and build important relationships, including with their local PCN clinical director, such is the demand on them being in the pharmacy to ensure the business can continue to operate. Therefore in order to community pharmacy to achieve its potential I do think something has to change.

This legislative change must be done the right way though, and must absolutely not lead to a compromise of the professional influence in the supply of medicines or delivery of services. Any change must safeguard against short term cost cutting attempts by employers and be done in a way which safeguards the public and does not lead to an erosion of quality. As always, the devil will be in the detail so I would expect the RPS to be very strongly influencing this.

Anna MAXWELL No response yet received
Sherifat MUHAMMAD KAMAL Remote supervisor devalues the essential services and the roles for which pharmacists stand for, patients safety, medicines use support, taking responsibility etc.

Remote supervisor isn’t a substitute for having a pharmacist In supervision.

Sian RETALLICK No response yet received
Andre YEUNG No response yet received

4. Pharmacies are important healthcare settings

What efforts would candidates expect the RPS to take to ensure community pharmacies are treated as healthcare settings?

Adebayo ADEGBITE Community pharmacies are healthcare settings and this has never been much clearer than during the pandemic when patients and the general public accessed their community pharmacies more than ever before for prescription and non-prescription issues and advice on treating the symptoms of Covid-19.

The COVID-19 vaccination programme which utilised community pharmacies as a vaccination hub further highlighted the role of pharmacies as healthcare settings like GP surgeries. If elected to the EPB, I will ensure the RPS work with key stakeholders in the healthcare sector including NHS bodies to ensure there is adequate funding to provide more clinical services from community pharmacies which are appropriately remunerated.

There is no reason why, in 2022, community pharmacies that want to cannot, after appropriate training, provide antibiotics for minor infections like urinary tract infections and ear infections. Service provision like this will further enhance the view of community pharmacies as healthcare settings.

The RPS can be encouraged to enhance the public perception of community pharmacies as healthcare settings through public messages and communication via other pharmacy bodies. ”Ask Your Pharmacist” and other previous successful public campaigns can be refreshed and enhanced to remind the public of value of community pharmacies.

Emma BOXER ——————-

I have worked within many community pharmacies and absolutely agree they are a healthcare setting; I believe there is sometimes some misunderstandings both from patients and from pharmacists who work in other settings on the role and value of community pharmacy. I believe the RPS can contribute towards promoting this through the support of new community-based services and public awareness campaigns.

There has been some fantastic service development in community in the past few years including pilot services like atrial fibrillation screening, GP2P and travel vaccination hubs. It would be fantastic to see more vocal and public praise for the positive strides community pharmacy is making. I also think the RPS should advocate for and ensure equality for community pharmacists accessing training and development.

Sharon “Sibby” BUCKLE  ——————-

Community Pharmacies ARE Healthcare settings, as evidenced by the Healthy Living Pharmacies requirement of PQS, supported by Healthy Living Champions. Likewise providing Influenza and COVID vaccination services, other vaccinations such as Travel and Pneumonia, the new Hypertension service, Drug user services, Sexual health services, and in many Pharmacies, other private services such as weight management.

Public Health campaigns are supported in Pharmacy and the accessibility to the public cannot be undervalued. The RPS produces the Medicines, Ethics and Practice guide, the BNF, Medicines Complete and produces guidelines for Standards in Hospital and Community Pharmacy. The RPS must continue to publish these and provide support for the highest standards of practice. The RPS professional support helpline is of huge value to practicing pharmacists helping deal with often complex queries in frontline pharmacy.

The RPS meets regularly with the decision makers and legislators, and it is vital that the role of Pharmacy and the valuable place it has in frontline healthcare is reinforced and highlighted on these occasions. The RPS is an important mouthpiece for the Pharmacy Profession, and working alongside bodies such as the PDAU, helps to raise the profile of Pharmacy.

——————-

Nabila CHAUDHRI I think first and foremost all pharmacists must be positioned as clinical healthcare professionals. Only when this perception of our profession changes, will settings such as community pharmacies be viewed as healthcare settings. I think this will require a change in mindset for Pharmacists as well as engaging with other key stakeholders. I very much think of myself as a healthcare professional and ensure the care I provide is visible to others. I think so much can be done in this space. It must be a multi-faceted approach, both within our profession and externally.
Brendon JIANG ——————-

Pharmacies are healthcare settings. I expect pharmacies to continue to become more like high street clinics offering evidence based interventions and moving away from homeopathy and hocus pocus. The RPS has a role to play in providing the vision, leadership and advocacy for the profession but some contractors and employers need to change behaviours to shed their ‘shampoo and sandwiches’ reputation.

——————-

Ewan MAULE Pharmacies in community settings are the most accessible healthcare settings for the vast majority of patients. The recent increase in closures, particularly in more rural settings, is concerning as it has an inevitable impact on both patient care and pressure in other healthcare settings. It is for that reason that I would expect ICSs as commissioners from April 2023 to be particularly interested and focused on ensuring any closures are kept to a minimum. Under the current commissioning arrangements CCGs will intervene to support general practices that were struggling to fulfil their commitments, and I would expect ICSs to do the same for community pharmacies.

I think the RPS has an important role in both highlighting this as an issue to commissioners, but also providing support in managing it – highlighting areas of best practice, advocating at national level for providers to be held to account etc.

Anna MAXWELL No response yet received
Sherifat MUHAMMAD KAMAL The roles pharmacies played during Covid-19 have answered this question, when everywhere was shut, pharmacists took over,

The RPS should put more efforts in ensuring the skills and competencies of pharmacists are known , used and appreciated within all healthcare delivery systems, the presence of pharmacists within the GP, the independent prescribers , the advanced pharmacists clinicians are all setting pace for pharmacists future.

Sian RETALLICK No response yet received
Andre YEUNG No response yet received

5. A profession body for pharmacists

Do candidates commit to keeping the RPS membership base to pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists and pharmacy students/pre-registration trainees?

Adebayo ADEGBITE The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) currently has pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, trainee pharmacists and pharmacy students as either full members or associate members. There is no current reason to widen this membership population.

However it is very important the RPS continues and increases its collaboration with other professional associations like the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK(APTUK) as Pharmacy Technicians are an important and integral part of Pharmacy Teams in various sectors of Pharmacy practice.

If elected, I will ensure the RPS balance the enhancement of its membership benefits to its current membership populations while sharing ideas and collaborating with APTUK and other bodies representing other pharmacy staff. This will include sharing expertise on education, CPD, joint  events all for the purpose of ensuring a united front for pharmacy for two separate professional bodies.

The RPS mission is to put PHARMACY at the forefront of healthcare and it can only do this by working with representatives of the Pharmacy Teams.

The RPS vision is to become the world leader in the safe and effective use of medicines and working with APTUK representing Pharmacy Technicians(PT) including Accredited Checking Technicians (ACT) PT’s helps it to achieve this.

Emma BOXER ——————-

In my opinion we should take pride in being a pharmacy profession and not just a pharmacist profession. That means working in collaboration and inclusion with all our colleagues who work within the profession and that includes pharmacy technicians. Pharmacy technicians are registered health care professionals and have been taking on more responsibility within pharmacy.

There has been many discussions around pharmacy technicians being able to train in vaccine administration and other essential services. I understand the importance of having a society that represents us as pharmacists but would personally have no issue and think there would actually be many benefits in including pharmacy technicians more in our collaborative working including opinions on policy change, education and training and access to resources.

Sharon “Sibby” BUCKLE  ——————-

Yes, full membership of the RPS should only be for fully qualified Pharmacists, with full voting rights, as per the criteria set out in the RPS Royal Charter.

However, I would be open to exploring ASSOCIATE membership for other categories, as per that followed by other Professional bodies. As well as being an important revenue stream, it could facilitate closer working with bodies such as APTUK.

Equally we must embrace affiliate pharmacy bodies and continue to pursue our ambition to become members of AoMRC, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. As I say in my election statement, the RPS MUST be relevant, recognised and inclusive.

——————-

Nabila CHAUDHRI I would certainly do all I can to sell the benefits of the RPS. In fact, I think by voting for people like myself in a typical roles will help bring a different approach and potentially help increase membership. I am sure many of the other candidates will talk about diversity and inclusion. I would like to be able to connect with as diverse a population as possible. I would really like people to feel listened to, as I think this will have a huge impact when it comes to growing the RPS membership.
Brendon JIANG ——————-

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society speaks for the pharmacy profession, with its mission to put pharmacy at the forefront of healthcare and vision to become the world leader in safe and effective use of medicines. Furthermore there are four objects in our Royal Charter:

  • Safeguard, maintain the honour, and promote the interests of pharmacists in their exercise of the profession of pharmacy.
  • Advance knowledge of, and education in, pharmacy and its application, thereby fostering good science and practice.
  • Promote and protect the health and well-being of the public through the professional leadership and development of the pharmacy profession.
  • Maintain and develop the science and practice of pharmacy in its contribution to the health and well-being of the public.

Any change to membership does not change the charter.

I do not see a need or an appetite for any change in membership but if elected, would seek to understand. I believe in listening to members. I categorically oppose removing any of the existing membership groups.

——————-

Ewan MAULE I agree the RPS should be the professional leadership body for pharmacists, but that it should work closely with APTUK and other similar organisations.
Anna MAXWELL No response yet received
Sherifat MUHAMMAD KAMAL The future of pharmacists is becoming diverse and this will determine which roles are essential on the register, as pharmacists development are essential so are pharmacists technicians and assistants and each is unique in its roles for effective healthcare delivery services.
Sian RETALLICK No response yet received
Andre YEUNG No response yet received

Voting for the election to the English Pharmacy Board will open on Friday 29 April, and we will publish any responses received from the candidates to the above questions as they are received.

 

LEARN MORE

RPS English board elections 2022

National Board election information [RPS website] 

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