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The PharmacistA pharmacy student talking to her tutor (JPEG, 21KB)

The role of the pharmacist

Pharmacists have an enhanced role to play in the delivery of public health.

In the White Paper entitled, “Healthy lives, Healthy People” the government say community pharmacies as a valuable and trusted public health resource.

  • The pharmacist is a consultant on the preparation and use of medicines and is an essential member of the healthcare team
  • The pharmacist is the person with responsibility for the preparation, the appropriate and safe clinical use and the supply of medicines to patients
  • By law, every pharmacy must have a responsible pharmacist who is legally responsible for the safe and effective running of that pharmacy
  • Only registered pharmacists may take responsibility for the provision of medicines in a hospital
  • The role has evolved from that of supplier, which is being delegated to pharmacy technicians, to that of a clinical adviser and manager of medicines
  • Accredited pharmacists are now prescribing medicines for the NHS as supplementary and independent prescribers, an exciting role that all pharmacists will be eventually trained to carry out

The role of the pharmacist is continually evolving from supplier of medicines to healthcare adviser and pharmaceutical consultant, as the Government empowers pharmacists, through NHS policy and legislation, with managing the nation’s medicines.

Pharmacists are expected to practice using the six core values of the NHS constitution:

  • Working together for patients
  • Respect and dignity
  • Commitment to quality of care
  • Compassion
  • Improving lives
  • Everyone counts

Regulatory bodies

We are now regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and have a separate leadership body known as the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.