Archive 2015

New Pharmacy Project To Explore How Pharmacists Can Best Meet Future Patient Needs In Ireland

August 19, 2015

A new pharmacy project, launched today by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), the pharmacy regulator, will explore how pharmacists can best meet patients’ needs and will outline a roadmap for the future direction of pharmacy in Ireland.

The ‘Future Pharmacy Practice Project’, supported by the Department of Health and the HSE, will examine how the sector can most valuably and cost-effectively contribute to the health and wellbeing of patients in Irish healthcare.

The project will incorporate national and international practice reviews, and build on the PSI’s earlier Interim Pharmacy Ireland 2020 report. Research supporting the project will consider the bigger picture for Irish-based pharmacists and their place in the delivery of healthcare and medicines management.

Speaking at the first meeting of the project’s Steering Group, its Chair, Dr Norman Morrow, said that “the overarching goal of the project is to create a national vision for pharmacy that focused on patient benefit and the value of making best use of pharmacists’ education and expertise to support the greater health service.”

“This project is essentially about considering benefits for the patient. If we put patients and the public at the centre of our thinking, we will not go far wrong,” said Dr Morrow.

“We know already of the striking, and significant changes in the Irish healthcare and pharmacy landscape in recent years, not to mention what is happening in other countries. This project will build on that information and those experiences, so that we can present evidence to policy–makers to inform the development of contemporary pharmacy practice to meet the health care needs of the population.”

The Group will undertake its work in the context of the significant challenges facing Irish healthcare currently. These include an ageing and changing population, the changing needs of patients who will require more future support in their homes, the significant growth in the incidence of chronic illnesses, new healthcare technologies, the development of more sophisticated and more individualised medicines, as well as the cost burden of providing a good standard of healthcare to all in the future.

Dr Morrow is the former Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland. Other key members of the Steering Group include representatives from the Department of Health, HSE, pharmacists from all sectors, and the medical profession. Two sub-groups will focus particularly on hospital pharmacy and community pharmacy practices and their potential for growth.

The project will ask questions of those working in pharmacy, of policy-makers and of the general public regarding what they envisage for pharmacy in this country. As part of the process, pharmacists will be asked to submit their ongoing innovations to collect a body of real-time evidence of practice. The end result should align pharmacist skills with solid recommendations for their work into the future, with the potential to significantly impact on the health of the population, on the practice of pharmacy and on the multidisciplinary delivery of healthcare. The final report will be delivered in early 2016.

The PSI’s Interim Pharmacy Ireland 2020 report previously outlined how the pharmacy profession could contribute to the development of a more integrated healthcare service in Ireland that would enhance patient outcomes. Following the report significant changes have occurred, including the availability of emergency hormonal contraception from pharmacies without prescription, the expanded role of community pharmacists vaccinating against seasonal influenza, and hospital pharmacists being more closely involved in the prescribing process as part of multidisciplinary teams.

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