Pharmacy is changing

The Clinical Pharmacy Congress is over for another year. Another successful conference with over 2,000 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians attending – this must be easily the largest gathering of clinical pharmacists in the UK.

But what happened – what was the buzz? Actually that is difficult to explain. The so-called thought leaders offered presentations, some I could have seen last year and some delivered with the enthusiasm of a damp cloth. But not all – some were really interesting and got great feedback.

Networking was fantastic and the sponsors were great – although some large pharmaceutical companies were noticed by their absence – what are you guys thinking?

The leading clinical pharmacists did their stuff. Always on the ball and up to date, but now sharing with some case studies and more interaction than usual. A definite move that allowed the participants the chance to get closer to our profession’s experts and learn more.

However, there was something really different from the RPS. A more forward looking and joined up approach. The RPS is sounding more like a membership organisation that is interested in its members. There were great presentations from the ENB chair and a series of presentations from the faculty. Congratulations go out to Dave and Catherine – your hard work is paying off.

This is also the first time I noticed the academics and educationalists. They seem more engaged with the profession and more adaptive to the needs of pharmacists. There is a real feeling that they will be there to create the pharmacists of the future to fill the gaps that are created.

OK – I must admit that there was a selection of views on pharmacists in general practice. Views from the RPS, that were surprisingly up-beat and underlie the work that they have done behind the scenes and a much more conservative approach, recommended by those who, quite frankly, have never done the job. We heard from practice based pharmacists who have been doing the job for many years and a description of the roles. There is little doubt that this area will become a major expansion for the profession over the next few years.

The most exciting feeling came from the frequent discussion about team working and the benefits from all pharmacists, in every sector, pulling together for the benefit of the patient and the profession. I met pharmacists from all sectors of the profession – of course it is clinical pharmacy that really brings us together. The hastag #oneprofession has grown and so it should.

My biggest surprise is the introduction of the ‘celebrity pharmacist’ – I am not even sure what I mean by this, but if you were there, you would understand. I witnessed the growth of the pharmacy selfie – there was a dedicated selfie station – who ever thought of that one? And the first time I have seen a spontaneous standing ovation for a pharmacist.

There is a buzz in the profession – I am not sure I can put my finger on it – but it is definitely there and growing.


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