I was invited to speak at the Association for Prescribers’ Annual Conference last November. Being of a bolshie disposition, I chose to ask whether our prescribing is really patient-centred. Of course, we’ll all say it is, but when you look at some of the prescribing policies that commissioners seek to introduce you have to wonder whether the patient’s needs are coming second to the organisation’s priorities, particularly to keep saving money.
There is no pot of gold, but on the other hand pharmacy has met savings targets over and over again when other functions within CCGs have come nowhere near doing so. If the pips are not squeaking it may be because they have already been fully crushed.
Couple this with regular comments from patients in practice satisfaction surveys that they no longer feel that they have a personal GP, and you might wonder who is looking out for the patient. Patient advocacy groups complain that they are not listened to, local government complains that it sees no action from its comments, and the one potentially consistent voice the patient has is their pharmacist.
So how do pharmacists rise to this challenge and influence others to advocate for their patients? This is exactly the kind of practical question that we will be addressing in the 14th series of PM Academy meetings starting at the end of April. You can book your place at www.pharman.co.uk/events.