PSNC and NPA represent UK at World Pharmacy Council

PSNC and the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) attended a meeting of the World Pharmacy Council (WPC) last month to discuss developments and innovations in the profession.

As part of its annual meeting, WPC representatives from countries including Denmark, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, US and the UK all gave updates on how pharmacy is progressing in practice, technology and workforce development.

Delegates heard from Francesca Colombo, Head of the Health Division at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), about the OECD’s programme on Financial Sustainability and Resilience of Health Systems. The Council is planning to take forward work on quantifying the economic benefit of community pharmacy medication adherence support, as well as examining the causes of current pharmacy workforce shortages.

The conference also received an update on the Council’s first international scholarship and exchange programme between the UK and Australia. A scholarship has been awarded to Oliver Williams, a pharmacist at Hendra’s At Penryn pharmacy in Cornwall. He will be travelling to Australia later in the year to experience community pharmacy practice in the country and to share his experience of practice in the UK.

PSNC Chief Executive Janet Morrison said:

“It was incredibly useful to hear about the experiences of the pharmacy sector in different countries – both what we have in common and where we differ. It was notable that in all the countries around the table the respective governments realised – sometimes belatedly – how much pharmacies could deliver during the pandemic in terms of supporting patients to get access to medicines, giving advice, and delivering vaccinations against Covid and Flu. In many countries it was recognised that the delivery of jabs by pharmacies had actually been more effective and more popular with patients. What our shared experience demonstrated was how much more pharmacy teams could be doing to alleviate the pressures on primary care and help with the health service recovery given our expertise, proximity to patients, and the public trust we enjoy.”

NPA Chair Andrew Lane said:

“It’s very useful to be part of a global network of pharmacy bodies who are all going through similar challenges as we are in the UK. Sharing intelligence on other pharmacy systems around the world helps us to prepare the right strategy for engaging with the NHS at home. Hearing some of the strides in services and digital technology in the profession gives us hope for the future of the sector. It’s clear however that key challenges such as workforce shortages are starting to have an effect in other parts of the world too.”

WPC President Doug Hoey (National Community Pharmacy Association, USA) said:

“We recognised early in the pandemic that community pharmacy would have a vital contribution to make to deliver care to our patients as physicians and hospitals closed clinics. Our challenge now is to ensure that we build on the public appreciation and the success of the new services provided during the pandemic to secure the new and expanded services for the future, with the funding needed to deliver viable income streams.”

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