2019 Welsh Pharmacy Conference
Moving from Supply to Services
Managing the Risks; Embracing the Opportunities
WPR rounds up some of the highlights of the 2019 Welsh Pharmacy Conference – in partnership with The Pharmacists’ Defence Association – and provides snapshots of the speakers’ impactful presentations.
At a time when pressure on the NHS is pounding and we’re at risk of floundering morale, it’s crucial that the different spectrums of the pharmacy industry come together and take command of their unique skills for the benefit of patients. Helping to map out a better way forward, the Welsh Pharmacy Conference 2019 – in partnership with The Pharmacists’ Defence Association – recently attracted an array of esteemed delegates and industry sponsors to the Vale Resort, Glamorgan, for discussion, debate, and learning.
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Speaker One: Russell Goodway, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy Wales
Topic: A contract for services: how to develop community pharmacy
Taking to the stage, Russell commenced his presentation be reiterating what we already know, and what remains a critical source of frustration – that transformation in Welsh pharmacy is very much a work-in-progress. The ambition for the sector to deliver healthcare services has existed for a long time, yet obstacles have hampered its pace. Notable barriers include governmental resources and the willingness of community pharmacy contractors to make significant change.
In order for the industry to successfully move forward, Russell highlighted the necessity of equipping ourselves with consistency. The government needs to know that community pharmacy will be manned by consistent individuals as there are better patient outcomes when the individual is observed by the same healthcare professional on a regular basis. A collaborative approach with fellow healthcare peers, as well as our patients and their families, will allow us to fulfil our role of focussing on community rather than just pharmacy.
But how does our relationship with the NHS align with this? Russell advised that we must regard them as a customer and recognise the value of forging a constructive relationship. We must provide the NHS with reassurance that if services are commissioned, they will be implemented. At the other end of the scale, contractors also require certainty in that if they carry out investment in their premises and staff, then the commissioning of services will continue. Given the ever-altering needs of patients, the contractual framework must be dynamic in its nature too.
Speaker Two: Mark Koziol, The Pharmacists’ Defence Association
Topic: Taking medicines more seriously: an integrated pharmacy service based on medicines safety and pharmaceutical care
Mark’s presentation shed light on the fact that although pharmacists are undoubtedly working hard, they’re often not working smart – and as a result the industry is increasingly vulnerable to struggle; giving rise to overwhelmed GPs, and too many patients being driven to hospital. For example, prescribing medicines is the most common medical intervention, yet the service isn’t taking medicines seriously enough, leading to them being wasted or containing errors.
The patient’s perception of pharmacy commands attention too. Often in the individuals’ eyes, pharmacy centres on speed and efficiency, which can result in big tech cutting us out. However, if we overhaul the measures by which the public values the sector, we need not fear disruptive industries.
The power of integration came into play during Mark’s speech, too, as improvements can be instigated simply by creating a community of practice and connecting with all of the different parts of the system.
Ultimately, we learned that we all attain responsibility for helping the sector to soar; and it’s our mission to seek changes to the current awareness of pharmacy. We must strive to engage the public with a memorable, iconic message about pharmacy in order to reframe their thinking about this clinical relationship.
Speaker Three: Niall Downey FRCSI, Doctor and Airline Pilot
Topic: Protecting patients through error management: how to think like an airline pilot
Reflecting on over 25 years of experience as an airline captain and a doctor has allowed Niall to approach the present manifestation of our healthcare system with a unique perspective – and one which may be incredibly advantageous. His presentation – brimming with modern media demonstrations and real-world examples in which mistakes commonly occur – showcased how our current approach to adverse events, due largely to human error, can be honed by applying proven techniques from the aviation industry.
With the problems usually persisting in the systems, rather than the people, we need to consider implementing a just culture, rather than the blame culture which continues to dominate. By way of this new openness, individuals wouldn’t be as reluctant to hold their hands up when something goes wrong.
If we introduce more mechanisms for preparing and checking for undesirable outcomes – which don’t have to be expensive or comprehensive – we’ll herald a new era of efficiency and confidence.
Speaker Four: Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services
Topic: Keynote address: a message to pharmacists in Wales
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, provided the conference’s keynote address, proceeding to both offer reassurance to delegates, and embolden their next steps.
The Health Minister’s opening words asserted that it’s an exciting time in Wales with the development and future of the industry. By reflecting on his personal health experiences, he was able to pinpoint just some of the progress – including his local practice moving on and attaining a pharmacist, in which medication reviews now exude much-welcomed consistency. Also conveyed was the Health Minister’s ambition for this to trickle further into the system as our priority should be that the patient is seen by the right person in the right place at the right time.
As well as sharing his aspirations for the future, the Health Minister delved into some of the advancements seen thus far. In particular, he noted that the common ailment service has attracted considerable positive feedback and is an example as to how to improve services and access across primary care. The new sore throat test and treat service has also received remarkable results since its pilot – with 94 per cent of patients reporting that they would have made an appointment with their GP otherwise.
The Health Minister assured the audience that the Welsh government is taking action to develop an adequately trained pharmacy workforce – supported by the announcement of a £100,000 funding package for pharmacists. The financial injection will focus specifically on managing minor ailments and will be used to fund specialist clinical skills training for 50 pharmacists.
The Health Minister also welcomed the establishment of ‘Pharmacy: Delivering a Healthier Wales’; a vision offering new opportunities to drive the changes that will safeguard the health and social care needs of current and future generations.
Speaker Five: Helen Lewis, The Pharmacists’ Defence Association Official for Wales
Topic: Creating a winning team: through working with staff
Helen invited the audience to journey through the evolution of The Pharmacists’ Defence Association; depicting its early beginnings and current standing as the only independent trade union exclusively for pharmacists, and the largest pharmacist organisation in the UK; having attracted an uptake across all spectrums of the sector.
Helen overviewed the role of unions and their enhancement of pharmacists’ skills and safety. In line with this, she explained that unionised workplaces are safer workplaces.
To deliver this outcome, the organisation trains health and safety representatives to internationally-recognised standards, so that they can reduce injury rates and ill health.
Speaker Six: Jonathan Lloyd-Jones, Sheppards Pharmacy
Topic: Experiences of a contractor: developing a services-led pharmacy
Having immersed himself in the challenges in becoming – and rewards of developing – a services-led pharmacy, Jonathan was ideally placed to offer enlightenment regarding what the transformation entails.
The town centre pharmacy – nestled in Aberdare – aimed to improve collaboration with local GP surgeries and other healthcare professionals, in addition to increasing service provision. Their efforts reflected on the outcome, leading to the completion of 20 per cent more service consultations in 2018 than 2017, and 40 per cent more than 2016.
Striving for further improvement, Jonathan is currently undertaking his independent prescribing training to provide an enhanced minor ailments scheme.
Nevertheless, a number of barriers are still preventing services from being utilised to their full potential. These include restricted resources; the need for more staff; and the task of maintaining service workload and large prescription volume.
Speaker Seven: Emma Williams, (NHS) Lead Pharmacist, Community Pharmacy and Primary Care, Cwm Taf Local Health Board
Topic: Choose Pharmacy: roll-out of this important project
Emma offered a snapshot of the origins of Choose Pharmacy – an initiative which started off very small – as well as an insight into where we are at present, and a glimpse of what’s next.
A series of crucial principles underscore Choose Pharmacy’s ethos – such as security. As a gateway which opens the door to the rest of the NHS, it’s important that patients’ safety is protected. The technological scope of Choose Pharmacy was also tapped into in which Emma presented a vision of the application design and development.
Regarding where our focus lies now, a delivery plan 2020 has been constructed. The Choose Pharmacy objectives in question incorporate the electronic transmission to GP practice; the sore throat test and treat; emergency contraception; the update of the flu module for 2019 campaign; DMR visible within WCP; 2DRx functionality; and a link with NHS 111.
Speaker Eight: Andrew Evans, Chief Pharmacist for Wales
Topic: An update from the Chief Pharmacist: a message to pharmacists in Wales
The effects of changing consumer habits on pharmacies were explored as while the Chief Pharmacist warned that we will not be protected from the public’s growing reliance on ease of access when it comes to prescriptions – we can find ways to evade the trend.
By emulating the nature of small businesses and developing a set of values driven by patient experience, our consumers will be responsive, and pharmacies will subsequently thrive.
We must also try to our best to embed the five Cs in our provision of pharmaceutical care: capacity, capability, continuity, collaboration, and community.