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Scottish pharmacists have vital role in mental health support
RPS in Scotland has called for an exploration of new models of care which enable pharmacists to better support people with their mental health. At a national roundtable event held in its Edinburgh office, policymakers, politicians and practitioners met with leading community pharmacists to discuss how pharmacists could play a greater role in the provision of mental health services.
Participants heard from pharmacists across Scotland about their current role and how it could be developed to further benefit patients.
Pharmacists play an important role in their community, providing patients with advice on their medication; spotting the early signs of mental health conditions; and in places form part of a network of interdisciplinary medical teams. However, patients could benefit even more if the role of pharmacists was better recognised and their contributions integrated within primary care.
We are working on an RPS in Scotland policy which calls for an exploration of new models of care which enable pharmacists working in all settings to better support patients with mental health conditions with their medicines, with early interventions, monitoring and referrals to specialist services when necessary. Pharmacists could also provide more formal follow-up care to patients and work as part of multidisciplinary teams.
‘We believe that pharmacists are vital to the delivery of the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Strategy,’ said Jonathan Burton, Chair of the RPS Scottish Pharmacy Board, ‘and could play a leading role in multidisciplinary teams. Working in the community, pharmacists see people more often than any other health professional and provide holistic care. There are great examples across the country from universities and rural communities to areas of deprivation where pharmacists are providing much-needed support.
‘As experts in all aspects of medicines, pharmacists are often best placed to review a patient’s overall medication and will take a holistic approach to an individual’s conditions. We can improve the quality of their care by ensuring that they are getting the most benefit from the medicines they are taking and reducing the risk of harm.’
The RPS in Scotland mental health policy will be finalised by the end of the year and will be available on our website: www.rpharms.com

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