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Future pharmacists help shape direction of profession

06 March 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

UCLan students contribute to NHS shake up discussion.

Pharmacy students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have called for pharmacists to play a bigger role in patient care as part of an NHS shake up.

In response to a community debate organised by the Lancashire Local Pharmacy Network as part of the NHS Pharmacy Call to Action campaign, the UCLan students shared their ideas of how to develop local pharmacy services to make the most of NHS resources for better patient support.

Every year in England, 438 million visits are made to community pharmacy for health related reasons.* The NHS has launched the Pharmacy Call to Action campaign to stimulate debate in local communities on how pharmacists can help deliver excellent care and aid people to get the most from their medicines, develop community pharmacy strategies and inform the wider NHS England agenda.

Fourth year pharmacy student 22-year-old Matthew Brown commented: “Pharmacists are highly qualified professionals that can add value to patient care. We can relieve pressures on the NHS by taking over relevant services and using community pharmacies to monitor long term conditions such as diabetes to save frequent GP visits.”

Kirubananthini Kamalraj, a 35-year-old first year pharmacy student, is at the start of her career but was still encouraged to voice her ideas.

She said: “Historically pharmacists are not valued as highly as other medical professionals so this is a cultural attitude that needs to change. We are the experts in drug administration and are able to play a stronger role in providing out of hospital services.”

"We are the experts in drug administration and are able to play a stronger role in providing out of hospital services."

The NHS has set its aims for community pharmacy to:

  • develop the role of the pharmacy team to provide personalised care;
  • play an even stronger role at the heart of more integrated out-of-hospital services.
  • provide a greater role in healthy living advice, improving health and reducing health inequalities;
  • deliver excellent patient experience which helps people to get the most from their medicines.

The Dean of the School of Pharmacy at UCLan Professor Tony D'Emanuele commented: “The pharmacy profession is going through many changes and it’s important that the next generation of pharmacists make an impact on the career they’re about to enter. NHS resources are being challenged and pharmacists have the potential to play a stronger role with a wider remit to deliver excellent patient care.”

The UCLan students also pledged their support to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Now or Never campaign to highlight that people across England should expect pharmacists to offer far more than just medicines.

The society has produced a report looking at the services pharmacists offer including providing easy access to medicines, advice, review and care.

*According to NHS Call to Action report.