Questions from the BPSA for RPS National Board Candidates

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society are currently holding elections for positions on the English Pharmacy Board, and Scottish Pharmacy Board. The English, Scottish and Welsh Pharmacy Boards provide professional leadership and advocacy support for the pharmacy profession across all sectors. Elections for positions onto the English and Scottish Pharmacy Board are open until 26th May 2017, and further information on how to vote can be found on the RPS website, (undergraduate students and pre-registration trainees are not eligible to vote).

As the official student organisation for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, we asked each candidate the same two questions related specifically to their thoughts on undergraduate pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees. We have collated the responses, (not edited), that we have received and whilst students are unable to vote in the upcoming RPS elections, we hope that these responses will help to better inform our membership on the positions taken by those running for election to either the English Pharmacy Board, or Scottish Pharmacy Board.

If elected to the Board, what would be your objectives be with regards to undergraduate pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees?
How would you like to influence the changing landscape of pharmacy for the next generation of pharmacists?

We wish every candidate the best of luck with the elections, and we look forward to continuing working closely with all those who are elected.

English Pharmacy

Martin Astbury

If elected to the Board, what would be your objectives be with regards to undergraduate pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees?

The integrated degree should still be the ambition. Until that happens cross sector pre-registration training should become the norm. There should be pre-reg places for all pharmacy graduates that want one. 

How would you like to influence the changing landscape of pharmacy for the next generation of pharmacists?

Following the explosion of new universities more than 3500 pharmacists are graduating each year. (Compared with 1625 graduates in 2008). This is unfair on the graduates and registered pharmacists alike.

The danger of pharmacist unemployment is here now, with more pharmacists than jobs the some employers are paying us as little as they can get away with. If you have a professional disagreement with an employer it can sometimes be difficult to maintain professional integrity when you know you can be replaced by someone who will play ball.

Increase the standing of pharmacists in the eyes of the public. Ensuring there are enough jobs and opportunities for pharmacists. Pharmacists should be paid a fair wage that reflects their worth as a professional.

Nadia Bukhari

If elected to the Board, what would be your objectives be with regards to undergraduate pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees?

Being an academic pharmacist, I have often reflected on my vision for undergraduate students and preregistration trainees. Below are some of my objectives, should I be elected to the Board.

1. Pre-Foundation

Ongoing professional development is a key component to ensuring pharmacists are equipped to perform to the best of their ability in any setting. This attitude to life-long learning needs to be introduced to pharmacy graduates from day 1. 
The RPS have recognised this and are developing the Pre-Foundation Framework. However, for this to be rolled out nationally, there needs to be an increased collaboration with HEIs to ensure the professional development journey for students is embedded within the curriculum. I would work very closely with the BPSA to increase engagement among students and pre-registration trainees, but also to provide support for their professional development journey.

2. 5 Year degree

NES have announced their move towards the 5-year degree and are making greater strides towards progress. Following the Modernisation Pharmacy Careers report a recommendation for England to move towards a 5-year degree programme has been made. England needs to start making progress regarding this move. It will be essential to work with Health Education England to implement this across the board.

When moving towards a 5-year degree it will be essential to: 

a. Develop more opportunities for inter-professional learning to foster relationships and confidence in communication with other health and care professionals
b. Ensure science is the core foundation of the degree course
c. Foster growth of clinical exposure and increasing placements by building relationships with all sectors of practice; community, hospital, accident & emergency and general practice.
d. Introduce core concepts linked to independent prescribing into the degree programme to allow a smoother transition to the independent prescribing course, post-graduation.

3. Pre-Registration Training

To prepare trainees for the workforce, it will be essential to develop multi-sectoral placements; rotations in General Practice, Hospital, Community and Industry should be uniform for all trainees via a national structured multi sectoral training programme.

How would you like to influence the changing landscape of pharmacy for the next generation of pharmacists?

The profession is undergoing a period of significant uncertainty and change but this represents a superb opportunity for us to promote and embed new ways of working.

For these new roles to be sustainable in the long term there needs to be sustainable access to high quality education and training for pharmacists at all stages of their careers; from undergraduate to pre-registration to newly qualified to expert practice.

Having worked in academia for nearly 14 years, I understand the challenges associated with regards to the alignment of the MPharm degree to current pharmacy practice. One of my current goals as an educator is to support students towards an integrated approach to learning and practice, enabling these skills to be translated into integrated models of care when in practice. The MPharm needs to further prepare students for practice in the true sense, which includes appreciating the challenges and opportunities the profession is facing.

The pre-registration year is a challenging time for trainees where a work-study balance needs to be managed and achieved. Coupled with this is the fact that educational support for trainees varies nationally.

Having recognised these issues, I founded and developed the popular RPS Pre-reg revision courses in 2012 and have nurtured them into the success they have become today.
These courses have gathered momentum nationally, with events being held across the country to ensure most trainees can attend. This has been a great achievement for me; meeting trainees from all sectors of the profession from a variety of demographic areas has been a highlight of my teaching on these courses. Networking, listening to their concerns and absorbing their enthusiasm for the profession has been very meaningful.

Moving towards multi sectoral training for pre-registration trainees will equip future pharmacists for day 1 of practice and embed valuable skills to move towards becoming a portfolio pharmacist; the direction the profession is heading.

Being involved at the grass roots level of education and training for our profession gives me immense satisfaction; preparing the future workforce by strengthening and equipping them for the challenges of today and difficulties of tomorrow.

Mark Collins

No response received at time of writing.

Richard John Daniszewski

No response received at time of writing.

Jane Devenish

No response received at time of writing.

Ian Fraser

If elected to the Board, what would be your objectives be with regards to undergraduate pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees?

My first objective with regard to pre-registration trainees would be to conduct a review of the pre-registration examination.

I find it farcical that approximately 50% of students were able to fail an examination last year after four years of appropriate training and one year intense study. This to my mind indicates that there is a distinct lack of correlation between the examination and the the syllabus being taught. It is grossly unfair to potentially waste four or five years of peoples lives.

The structure of the exam needs to be reviewed, feedback should be given to those students that failed so they can easily see where they were lacking and interim support should be given throughout the pre-registration year by additional means such as monthly online assessments.

Secondly, I would examine the current imbalance of pharmacy graduates to future jobs available and look at a series of measures to create new roles for pharmacist that will provide a rewarding career both financially and professionally.

How would you like to influence the changing landscape of pharmacy for the next generation of pharmacists?

This relates to my previous answer in that having worked as a locum pharmacist and been an owner I understand that community pharmacists are the forgotten members of the primary healthcare team.

I should like to enable the transition from the current state where pharmacists are sometimes viewed as shopkeepers with a specific medicine supplies function.

I should like to create a model whereby upon qualification the Government will fully any pharmacist wishing to become a prescribing pharmacist as this will ultimately save the NHS money and create pharmacist jobs as well as demonstrate the value of pharmacists.

I dream of a landscape in which every G.P. is obliged to have a clinical pharmacist as part of its team and the training of the pharmacist is supported by the practices in question.

I dream of a day when the newsbites don’t say

‘ The strain on the doctors and nurses ….’

But states,

‘ The doctors, pharmacists, and nurses….’

I want recognition for my profession .

I want public awareness for my profession.

I don’t want to feel my stomach churn as the BMA groans over a 1-2% pay increase whilst our ultimate paymaster delivers an enforced 12% funding cut to pharmacy owners that then impacts on qualifying graduates.

I want to create opportunities within the profession for progression.

This is how I would use my influence from within the RPS.

David Gallier-Harris

If elected to the Board, what would be your objectives be with regards to undergraduate pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees?

Pharmacy undergraduates and Pre-registration Pharmacists are, quite simply, the future of the profession. As such, we need to engage with them regularly.

I would like to see engagement with pharmacy students to discuss the issues facing pharmacy. For starters, I'm a member of the Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board. What do pharmacy students think of the proposed changes to the laws governing inadvertent dispensing errors? What do they think about any proposals to change the laws governing pharmacy supervision? We need to hear the voice of undergraduates on these topics either through researched papers submitted to the board or through a presence at the Partners Forum. Perhaps both!

I would like to see changes to the way the RPS faculty is funded and to make it more accessible. It has the potential to be a fantastic resource for pharmacists during their pre-reg and early years of practice.

How would you like to influence the changing landscape of pharmacy for the next generation of pharmacists?

The landscape of pharmacy is changing. My concern as a community pharmacist however is that the landscape may change to such a degree that community pharmacy all but fails to exist. I think there is a role in GP practices which needs to grow but most importantly we need to develop a clear strategy for community pharmacy and we need to start implementing it NOW. I would like to influence the changing landscape by getting the RPS to clearly focus on the issues facing community pharmacy. Funding for the supply of medicines is going to keep on dropping. We need to tap into other funding streams both within the NHS but also the private sphere. Engagement with the FYFV and supporting LPCs with STPs and developing PGDs linked to pharmacists to operate in any pharmacy are a couple of ideas.

Sandra Gidley

If elected to the Board, what would be your objectives be with regards to undergraduate pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees?

With regard to student I think that RPS could do more to engage with our students so that they start their careers with a positive image of pharmacy. We already do a lot to help pre registration students with their exams but the big challenge going forwards is to ensure that there are sufficient pre reg places so that we have pharmacists appropriately trained to take on some of the expanded roles that we are creating. I would also encourage LPFs to engage with their local school of pharmacy. Some already have brilliant relationships but in some areas the link isn’t really there.

How would you like to influence the changing landscape of pharmacy for the next generation of pharmacists?

I am quite clear about this in my video, linked to my election statement. As I come to the end of my career my simple aim is that the bright young pharmacy graduates of today have rewarding and interesting careers and that they are able to make the most of their unique clinical knowledge and skill set, I recently held a board meeting at Nottingham University so that board members (who are nearly all past the first flush of youth) could have a better appreciation and understanding of how the degree has changed and how today’s graduates are coming out of university with high expectations and deserve better than to be treated as a glorified checking technician - which is what happens in some settings. I have the greatest respect for checking technicians but I want pharmacists to make best use of their cognitive skills - not just be a legal necessity.

Hala Jawad

If elected to the Board, what would be your objectives be with regards to undergraduate pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees?

I am of the view that MPharm undergraduate life is totally different than being a pre-registration student. The latter work circa. 40 hours a week and often have family commitments which when added to the large study-load that the Pre-registration year involves can be a (necessarily) burdensome period.
I am of the view that we can offset some of the pressure by offering enhanced support and mentoring mechanisms. Particularly when Pre-registration students fail their examination and the first and perhaps second attempt they feel vulnerable and failure at the third may become a self-fulfilling prophesy. I have in mind the development of effective online education platforms for the RPS to support these students as they will lead our future.

How would you like to influence the changing landscape of pharmacy for the next generation of pharmacists?

Building bridges between being an undergraduate student to being a pre-registration and that's by proper collaboration between BPSA and RPS to empower our new generation. I feel that the sooner the Pre-registration pharmacist get involved with the RPS Elections the better, as their voice is our future as they bring new ideas to the platform. I found that the first two years of being a pharmacist was too pressurising as we are commencing professional life; we require many accreditations to carry out additional services. I would also seek to create mechanisms for support for pharmacist changing sectors so they can be mentored; perhaps by online educational platforms.

Brendon Jiang

No response received at time of writing.

Ben Merriman

No response received at time of writing.

Mahendra Gulabbhai Patel

If elected to the Board, what would be your objectives be with regards to undergraduate pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees?

Undergraduate students should be continuously encouraged and upskilled to deal with today’s pressures and to appropriately empower and equip them to use all avenues available to support them. The RPS should be seen as main stream to supporting students through their pre-foundation and foundation programmes in close conjunction with the academic institutions.

In my work to date, I have always worked diligently and passionately to help elevate student profiles and to help enhance their chances of securing placements of choice – most notably through the now TWO well established National Student Champions Programme, NICE and our own RPS. Equally it is important to help ensure the voice of the BPSA continues to refresh and re-energise to the depth and breadth of EPB dialogue in moving our profession forward. The BPSA community may be youthful in age but the youthful experience it offers is so uplifting and has to remain key in steering our positive direction of travel for the future of the profession.

How would you like to influence the changing landscape of pharmacy for the next generation of pharmacists?

It is important to work more closely with the Royal Colleges and NHS England to shout about the value pharmacists across sectors and at all levels and to be able to influence health and policy leads to help make better use of our skills in a challenging and demanding NHS climate. I would also like to ensure that pharmacists are able to utilise their prescribing skills more widely and with confidence through dedicated support and infrastructure provided by the RPS, and in particular with the now NICE accredited quality standards and other similar programmes.

In order to work effectively and seamlessly within the NHS it is important that we fully recognise and appreciate the roles and strengths of our fellow colleagues in all sectors and move with conviction towards being advanced generalist practitioners with specialisms.

New and even more experienced pharmacists need to be now better recognised and supported at levels during their professional journey. Therefore more effective means of accessing and using the vast array of information and resources available via the RPS is essential if we are to confidently step into new and emerging roles. Members should not only be made more aware of these resources but also be supported on how to use them to help develop their clinical and professional skills throughout their professional life.

Stephen Riley

If elected to the Board, what would be your objectives be with regards to undergraduate pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees?

Following a work-force review of current and future work-force needs work with the GPhC to develop the MPharm programme meet the future workforce requirements. This would include underpinning education and clinical skill development to expedite pharmacists to become IP sooner post qualification. Include consultation skill training to enable to undertake diagnosis, diagnostics and medication review with patients more confidently post qualification. Also include leadership and influencing skills training and risk management education (linked to with support from likes of PDA). To them better professionals and better equipped to stand up as autonomous professionals to better meet the needs of patients and our obligations as pharmacists.

Develop new opportunities within pre-reg training, so it will be the norm for cross sector placements. Not just traditional secondary care and community pharmacy. But working in new and emerging roles such as GP practice setttings, medicines optimisation services and specialist / industrial fields. This will give us more rounded pharmacists, used to utilising skills to meet patient needs and not be tied to a specific sector.

Follow the lead of Scotland and push for an integrated MPharm degree with pre -reg place. This will remove the concern of student numbers outstripping pre-reg places and given an additional support network to pre-regs and still linked their parent university.

Ensure that we take full account of the views of all levels of the membership in the RPS and for student and pre-reg members that means full voting rights in elections and other matters. Pre-reg are paying RPS members and in my experience the student membership are keen advocates and an invaluable voluntary support to the likes of LPFs at local level. You are also our professions's future.

How would you like to influence the changing landscape of pharmacy for the next generation of pharmacists?

I will work to achieve the much needed defence from prosecution for genuine errors. Champion the role of pharmacists and development of tools to support local leaders effectively engage with STPs and be involved in new models of commissioning. Support development of innovative use of cross sector working and new ways of using pharmacists skills. I support the development and spread of innovate patient services that better use our skills. I will fight to safeguard our invaluable community pharmacy network. I will support practical changes to supervision and adoption of technology that enable us to work in new ways. However, will only support polices, innovations and strategy that keeps pharmacists at the heart of patient care, ensure we maintain overall clinical supervision. I will also always fight to ensure we always have at least one pharmacist per pharmacy.

Sally Omolara Rose

No response received at time of writing.

Robert Severn

No response received at time of writing.

Ashok Soni

If elected to the Board, what would be your objectives be with regards to undergraduate pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees?

For students and preregistration trainees the first thing to recognise is that you are all trainee professionals. It is important to support you all in believing that there is not an oversupply of pharmacists in the workplace but rather an underutilization. An objective must be to gain your support and expectation that wherever there is a medicine there must be a pharmacist.

The Board must be clear that all pharmacists are clinicians and are based in a multiplicity of settings. In the future the Pre-Foundation programme must be seen as a stepping stone to the Foundation and Faculty and that all trainees are supported from the day they start university to the day they register as pharmacists to maximise the opportunities provided by this programme.
I believe that your voices, through BPSA, need to have greater influence and that we ensure there is representation in all groups looking at present and future direction.

I would expect there to be regular meetings between, as a minimum, President to President between BPSA and RPS to provide further opportunity to engage.

Eventually I would also like to see prescribing integrated into the undergraduate programme so that on qualification all pharmacists could prescribe under supervision for their Foundation years.

How would you like to influence the changing landscape of pharmacy for the next generation of pharmacists?

In the future we should expect that wherever there is a medicine there must be the involvement of a pharmacist to optimise use and care. This can already be seen through the creation of new roles of pharmacists working in Urgent & Emergency Care settings, working with GPs and supporting care homes. This recognition must continue and the clinical capability of tomorrows pharmacists must continue to be enhanced.

As I said above I want every graduate to have a prescribing qualification to ensure they can be supervised prescribers during their Foundation years but can take on greater responsibility for supporting patients and the public.

There is also an important role in health and wellbeing based on health promotion as well as primary and secondary prevention. The role of pharmacists and their teams in this area must continue to grow.

There is a need to ensure that the team supporting the pharmacist has the requisite skills to enable the pharmacist to work at their highest level of competency and building the capability in that team is therefore as important in the changing landscape.

In the future I want Ministers to talk about pharmacists, doctors and nurses as being essential to supporting the health and wellbeing of the population and to ensure pharmacists are truly recognised as experts as part of the team supporting improved patient outcomes. To support this there needs to be an increase in leadership development to create the capability to take greater responsibility in leading teams rather than only being members of the team.

Finally, I would like as many undergraduates as possible to have an opportunity for an elective placement to enable them to understand how other health and care systems operate and to use that experience in their future working lives.

Altaf Vaiya

If elected to the Board, what would be your objectives be with regards to undergraduate pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees?

If elected, I would want to steer The Royal Pharmaceutical Society to give more support to students, to push for universities to offer a pharmacy course that gives true representation of what pharmacy as a profession represents. I want the RPS to make students understand their roles and be trained on roles that they will have to fit into during their pre-registration year and in their career. The role of pharmacists is changing, therefore the way pharmacy is taught has to change. Students have to be taught how they can fit into more clinical roles. They also have to be taught about skills to manage people and manage businesses. Pharmacy as a career incorporates lots of roles, and universities have to make sure that what they teach helps students fit into these roles.

The pre-registration training year, this is an area I have a particular interest in. As well as being a pre-registration tutor myself, I have supported many other pre-registration students. I believe the pre-registration year is a year where you learn to become a pharmacist and learn the responsibilities associated with the role. I have seen the difficulties pre-registration have recently gone through with passing the pre-registration exam and I would like the RPS to do more to support students and to help engage with the GPHC to improve pass rates. 

I would also like the RPS to engage with all sectors that take on pre-registration students and set guidelines on how pre-registration students should be supported and help protect students to be able to learn without being overworked.

How would you like to influence the changing landscape of pharmacy for the next generation of pharmacists?

I love the pharmacy profession, and I have been noticing the change of the pharmacy landscape over the last few years. More importantly, I want pharmacists to be able to showcase their skills and be able to work in clinical roles that will secure pharmacy in the modern healthcare system. I believe in investing in knowledge, sharing knowledge, addressing the roles of pharmacists in the future, and dealing with the challenges that pharmacists have to deal. The RPS has to listen to students and the people working in the profession and set agenda’s that will protect the profession for the future

Scottish Pharmacy Board

Ewan Black

If elected to the Board, what would be your objectives be with regards to undergraduate pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees?
How would you like to influence the changing landscape of pharmacy for the next generation of pharmacists?

Other than hoping that students and pre-regs utilise the services and advice the organisation offers, I would encourage them to become involved. Professionalism is fundamental to the future of pharmacy. I would go as a far as suggesting that if we want to continue to call ourselves professionals we need a strong professional leadership body ; one that represents the whole of profession.

This brings me on to what I would aspire to influence if re-elected.

Most pharmacists work within the community. However, the realities of modern community pharmacy practice can all too often surprise, disappoint and ultimately drive away even the most capable and motivated : too many newly qualified pharmacists are becoming disillusioned, discovering that their ability to undertake the important clinical role for which they have been trained is all too often be compromised by work pressures and the environment in which they find themselves working.

While the RPS cannot, directly, change the financial and contractual arrangements which contribute to this situation, it should fight to bridge the gap between expectation and the unfortunate realities which confront so many recently qualified pharmacists. It would be naïve to imagine that, alone, the RPS can change these realities. However, we owe it to our newly qualified community colleagues - and our patients - to try to move things forward in a positive direction.

While the nature of community pharmacy practice is unlikely to change dramatically in the short term, there are things that could be done to help all of us, but especially our newly qualified colleagues. Improving job satisfaction is obviously good for pharmacists, their patients and even employers.

Here are a few of my suggestions.

I think it is of vital importance that the RPS (redoubles its efforts) and leads the way in the drive to increase professional empowerment of all community pharmacists (not just the newly qualified). Let’s be honest, for too many, the reality of community pharmacy practice is at odds to with their expectations on graduation and indeed the content of their degree. However, I would argue that feeling confident and empowered to make your own professional decisions can go a long way in improving job satisfaction.

There are obvious legislative constraints inherent to community pharmacy practice. The rules on supervision under which most community pharmacists work are currently being revisited. It is vital that these are reformed in such a way that is enabling and allows pharmacists to more fully contribute to meaningful pharmaceutical care, thereby utilising their clinical knowledge.

Problems of isolation and lack of professional autonomy compound the widespread disenchantment with community pharmacy practice. A successful mentoring programme could potentially help Similarly, could meaningful professional development which helps community pharmacists function within the existing environment. Thankfully the RPS has developed both of these, and if re-elected I would do all I can to try and make these more widely used and successful.

Jonathan Burton

If elected to the Board, what would be your objectives be with regards to undergraduate pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees?

In Scotland we've just had our chief pharmacist announce plans to phase in a 5 year integrated pharmacy degree. On the surface of things this is welcome news, but there are a great many details to be agreed & implemented before it becomes a reality. The RPS in Scotland needs to develop it's strategy with regards to the proposed changes in undergraduate training, especially in areas such as the experiential learning / pre-reg / clinical placement design & provision. Although we have a successful, centralised pre-registration placement programme in Scotland, with vetting & support for training sites and tutors, much more will need to be done to ensure new, more integrated models of training & mentorship are smoothly phased in. We also need to fight loud and hard to try to secure clinical subject funding for the new, integrated MPharm, to ensure the highest quality practical training placements can be resourced properly.   

How would you like to influence the changing landscape of pharmacy for the next generation of pharmacists?

I am a community pharmacist & independent prescriber who specialises in the 'walk-in' assessment & treatment of common clinical conditions, minor ailments 'plus' if you like. I have additional clinical examination skills and am funded by the NHS to run the walk-in service from my pharmacy. I think this should be the norm in community pharmacy as there is so much value we can bring to the sharp end of primary care by dealing with a wider range of common conditions. I would like the next generation of pharmacists to inherit a landscape where community pharmacy is seen to be a great 'clinical' option for using examination & prescribing skills every day to help patients. This is how I feel about it & I've worked really hard in my local NHS health board area in Scotland to help introduce a range of 'Pharmacy First' services in all community pharmacies locally to extend the range of common conditions pharmacists can assess & treat, including UTIs and skin infections. We are also helping support more community pharmacists to train as prescribers and set up clinics like my own.

Ross Hugh Ferguson

If elected to the Board, what would be your objectives be with regards to undergraduate pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees?

We need to ensure the undergraduate courses reflect the realities of working as a pharmacist, so they need to keep up to date with our ambitions – the skills and knowledge required. I know the Universities in Scotland have worked hard to update their courses and this is reflected in the excellent ratings the pharmacy schools get.

The recent announcement that the Schools of Pharmacy in Scotland have now to move to a 5-year integrated degree in Scotland to increase experiential learning is a great move to prepare pharmacists for practice.

I’d like to see all pharmacy undergraduates given the opportunity to work in pharmacy settings throughout their undergraduate course, as well as in other clinical settings within multidisciplinary teams.

I’d like to see a pre-registration year where everyone has experience of a variety of sectors of pharmacy and this should be routine. I know this is happening in some health board areas in Glasgow, but we need it rolled out across the country. I think that is the plan with the integrated degree.

I have concerns about the number of pharmacy graduates and the availability of pre-reg places. I think we need to look at workforce planning and consider a better alignment to graduates and the availability of pre-reg places.

We also need a proper career pathway for newly qualified pharmacists instead of being thrown in at the deep end.

Crucially, we need to listen to pharmacy students and pre-regs about their experiences so they have input to shape all of this.

How would you like to influence the changing landscape of pharmacy for the next generation of pharmacists?

I’ve been a pharmacist for over 20 years, and the ambitions that I have for the next generation of pharmacists are the same as the ones I have for the current generation. This generation hasn’t given up yet.

I want to see pharmacists use their knowledge and skills to their full potential to deliver better patient outcomes. I want to see them develop professionally to enable them to take on new roles and responsibilities to help ease the burden on the NHS.

I want to see community pharmacists removed totally from the mundane act of dispensing, and instead focus on delivering clinical services to patients in their own communities, providing a value to the NHS, making a difference to patients, and building a challenging, exciting career.

I want to see the excellent examples of best practice replicated throughout the community pharmacy network.

To help achieve this we need a confident clinical workforce that is supported by a strong leadership body and we need to work with other pharmacy and healthcare organisations, as well as patients to drive it.

I would like to help the RPS deliver the support members need, the representation that they deserve from a leadership body, and the communication that’s currently lacking to share the vision and passion with members, patients and other organisations.

We do have many barriers to overcome to achieve this changed landscape and I would like to be involved in helping to overcome them.

Alasdair Angus Macintyre

If elected to the Board, what would be your objectives be with regards to undergraduate pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees?

Today in Scotland the CPO has announced an integrated five-year degree course will be in place by 2020/21. This brings into sharp focus two things for me:

a. Ensuring that there is clarity and assurance for undergraduates at the moment around the current programme so that we can continue to deliver high quality pharmacists of the future in the interim and;

b. Working with stakeholders to ensure that the new proposal is robust and improves the quality of registrants going forward. I feel there is little point in moving to a new initial training and education process without this being the ultimate objective.

As a pharmacy owner who supports experiential learning from both the Scottish pharmacy schools and has tutored and hosted many pre-registration trainees throughout my career, I see this support role as a professional obligation and personally get a lot of satisfaction from supporting undergraduates and trainees.

How would you like to influence the changing landscape of pharmacy for the next generation of pharmacists?

Collaboration between sectors and a sense of ‘one pharmacy profession’ would be great for the future generation of pharmacists. Having pharmacy at the centre of this changing landscape through the actions of todays practitioners through advocacy and action on the ground with the public should leave the future of the profession with roles that are respected and understood by all within the Health and Social care sector and of course the public. I am based in community so influencing this sector to collaborate, evolve and continue to fulfil the valuable, clinical role it plays with the public who access NHS pharmacy services should create a vibrant sector which makes the challenge to work in this area attractive to future pharmacists.

Ailsa Power

If elected to the Board, what would be your objectives be with regards to undergraduate pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees?

It seems like yesterday I was an undergraduate, I now however have a a daughter at that stage, who is in the middle of her exams, cramming desperately and living off a diet of high energy drinks and chocolate! As a mother and healthcare professional I repeatedly remind her that this is not a good diet, but she tells me ‘needs must mum, needs must’!

As I fear you must be mid-exams and short of time, I will keep my answers concise!
At undergraduate level I believe students must have more work placements, time to learn in practice rather than in the classroom. Of course classroom time is important but we must balance that with the student learning to deal with patients and real life issues from year 1. Other similar professions have much more placement time- we need to improve!

In my day job I work for NHS Education for Scotland (NES) who manages the national Pre-registration Pharmacy Scheme (PRPS) in Scotland. We are lucky enough in Scotland to have a scheme for pre-regs which pays the same to all trainees, provides training days, quality manages their training base and is there for support if things get tough. The average passmark for the GPhC registration exam in Scotland is always higher than the GB average passmark. England and Wales are adopting our Scottish system or ‘doing an NES’ as my English colleague called it. However nothing is perfect and the RPS and NES work closely together to ensure training in Scotland is constantly being improved. Our PRPS placements are also capped- both schools of Pharmacy, RPS and NES are working with Scottish Government at present to ensure every Scottish student will be able to take such a placement if they wish in the future.

How would you like to influence the changing landscape of pharmacy for the next generation of pharmacists?

Congratulations you have chosen a great career- the future looks really exciting with plenty of opportunities.

Scottish Government is soon to publish the ‘refreshed’ Prescription for Excellence policy document. The coming years offer a tremendous opportunity for pharmacy and we need a strong and motivated Scottish RPS Board to capitalise on this development; a board which has the experience and working knowledge of how to make things happen. This is our chance to make a real difference to our profession and to patient care.

We are beginning to see the future- extended roles for the community pharmacists, pharmacist prescribers with caseloads running clinics in community, hospital and primary care. Everything is possible if the RPS continue to lobby potential and current MSPs on what Pharmacy can offer to the Healthcare team. This has, and will continue to bring opportunities and funding to our profession.

Oh and the very best of luck in your exams!

Deborah Alice Stafford

If elected to the Board, what would be your objectives be with regards to undergraduate pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees?

My role currently involves coordination of training for UG, pre reg trainees and early career pharmacists.   Over the last three years I have been considering how as a profession we prepare for the future roles that the public will expect of our pharmacists.

These new roles will require pharmacists to be increasingly accountable for patient care with a different dynamic as independent prescribers.  They will be faced with challenging decisions and risks.  They will inevitably make mistakes and will need to defend their actions to colleagues, other healthcare teams and most importantly patients.  Our UG and early year learning programmes currently don't prepare practitioners for the practical professional practice skills and behaviours they will require.

As Scotland takes those first steps to a five year integrated programme we in NHS Tayside will be embarking on a modular pre registration programme.  Through this model of community and hospital experience we aim to address these learning needs. Our experience will inform the development of this approach across Scotland and I am proud to be working with NES pharmacy and a group of independent and large multiples to make it happen.  I will continue to champion the role of pharmacists working within specialist teams providing generalist i.e. Total pharmaceutical care with compassion and consideration of the patients wants and needs.  To achieve this I will contribute to and challenge the ongoing conversations between RPS NES and the schools of pharmacy regarding the development of UG and early career programmes. 

How would you like to influence the changing landscape of pharmacy for the next generation of pharmacists?

I want the public, other health and social care colleagues to appreciate  the role of the pharmacist however I do feel we need to start appreciating each other and the contribution different colleagues bring to patient care.  It saddens me to hear colleagues in non facing roles feeling by implication that they having limited future development opportunity as they are not direct patient facing.   

The modular pre reg programme and professional portfolio roles where pharmacists deliver and contribute to patient care across traditional sector boundaries will start to share experience and practice.  Joint tutor/supervisor  partnerships will encourage shared learning and appreciation.

As a profession we need a corporate identity as a body of professionals, something which I feel the RPS provides.  However many don't agree.  They feel that the RPS does not represent their needs and challenges.  This needs to be addressed and I have been listening to non members as well as members during my preparation for the elections.  

The political advocacy role of RPS has been successful on so many levels in Scotland but a similar approach of canvassing to the members is voiced as a need.  The move towards NHS board based coordinators may enable stronger member engagement with the RPS mentor ship programme, leadership and professional practice frameworks surely providing the foundation stones upon which to build working networks of early careers and those maybe a little longer in the tooth.  

In my career of 25 years I could name shining beacons who have been excellent role models in a variety of ways.  It is my hope that future pharmacists will have mentors and role models who inspire and encourage them across a variety of sectors. Challenging practice norms to focus on the patient and public, remaining true to their roles as pharmacists be they prescribers or not. 


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