The Future role of the pharmacist

The environment in which the pharmacist operates is changing rapidly. It is influenced by the science that drives the development and delivery of medicines, by population changes and the workforce demands of healthcare.

As with other healthcare professionals a pharmacist will have many roles. This includes patient-facing roles (in the community or hospital) or in medicine development, scientific and leadership positions. The role of the pharmacist, no matter where they work or their specialist area, is person-centred – their role will impact the patient and the public.

The Pharmacy Schools Council’s function is to interpret the changes in the environment of the profession, particularly in the science of medicines and disease, and ensure that the pharmacists of the future are ready.

The future pharmacist will:

  • Provide expert healthcare with a leading role in the clinical interactions with patients and in the decisions surrounding the patient
  • Lead the development of new medicines and their approval, distribution and optimisation in use, creating and using the best available evidence
  • Be the pharmaceutical and medicines scientist within the multidisciplinary clinical team with the knowledge and skills surrounding medicines and their use, to be the focus for information and evidence in support of decisions surrounding medicines
  • Provide a primary care and public health role to reduce referrals to general practice, hospital readmissions and secondary care referrals. This is achieved through their skills, knowledge and expertise in patient consultation, medicines optimisation and their role in the multidisciplinary teams.
  • Advise other healthcare professionals including medical doctors in complex cases of diagnosis, in cases of initial medicine failure and when new therapies become available
  • Take a leading role in prescribing medicines and in the training of prescribers
  • Be recognised for the high level of education (Masters) they have received and their ongoing professional development and high degree of digital literacy
  • Be recognised in workforce planning for their contributions and skills and their positive and cost-effective impact on healthcare delivery and the economics surrounding medicines
  • Be recognised within the pharmaceutical industry, related sciences and the international regulatory governance of medicines, as a patient-focused leader of pharmaceutical research, drug development and the introduction of new medicines to the patient