On Wednesday 25 September 2019, World Pharmacist Day will take place, but how much do we know about what they do, and how important their role is within the health care system?
Some of the statistics surrounding the world of pharmacy in hospital settings and out in the community are sobering.
- 5 to 8% (17% in over 65s) of all unplanned admissions to hospitals are due to medication issues
- Only 16% of patients who are prescribed a new medicine take it as prescribed
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust are celebrating this World Pharmacists Day, and on an ongoing basis to highlight how pharmacists and their practice contributes to safer patient outcomes, releasing a pressure on the overall health care system.
Dr Mojgan H Sani, Director of Medicines Optimisation and Chief Pharmacist at the Trust comments on the pivotal role of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and assistants, in ensuring patient safety and improved outcome using medicines in the right way.
Describing her role as one that ‘enables and empowers the dedicated pharmacy teams” at North Tees and Hartlepool, she says ‘Excellence is our standard at North Tees and Hartlepool, and I am so proud to showcase this in my team. Innovations within the Trust are encouraged and the pharmacy team are at the cutting edge of ideas to focus safe patient care and help prevent avoidable admissions’.
The pharmacy contribution
In a statement released by NHS England on 31 August 2019, it was highlighted that through collaborative work of Chief Pharmacists across the system, The NHS has saved more than £700 million from the annual medicines bill to reinvest in new treatments.
Trusts like North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust are dedicated to supporting these ambitions.
Deepak Dwarakanath, Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive adds ‘one of the biggest issues we face is polypharmacy – the concurrent use of multiple medications by a patient. This is most common in our aging population; people are of course living longer. Our aim is to encourage deprescribing, reducing unnecessary doses to improve patient health, or to start to reduce the risk of adverse side effects. In turn this will of course reduce spend, and help us to invest in more long term prevention strategies for our population’.
As we celebrate pharmacy teams across the world, the sector also wants to raise awareness of the career opportunities available. Dr Sani concludes ‘The journey to qualifying as a pharmacist is intense, inclusive of a five-year master’s degree, before completing registration with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). However, the rewards of helping to impact positive patient care are tremendous. I would encourage the young people across our region to think about pharmacy as a career option’.