RPS calls for greater pharmacist involvement in tackling type 2 diabetes

Integrating pharmacists as part of diabetes healthcare teams could “dramatically improve the health of patients”, according to a major policy report.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has issued a document, entitled ‘Using pharmacists to help improve care for people with type 2 diabetes’, calling for pharmacists to become more involved in providing individual care for each person who has type 2 diabetes, opining that this could significantly decrease the number of premature deaths relating to the condition.

At the moment, pharmacists play an important role within UK communities, providing health and wellbeing support and education at schools, supermarkets and places of worship. But the report states full integration of pharmacists across NHS systems could make a big difference to people with type 2 diabetes if they were able to apply the same methods to the condition.

The need for training to improve pharmacists’ digital literary capabilities was highlighted too, so that people with diabetes can be supported to use digital diabetes management tools, such as apps, and understand the data they provide in greater detail.

The RPS also says the diverse ethnicity of the pharmacy workforce could help tackle the “languages and cultural barriers associated with the prevention and management” of the condition.

“As part of our research, we held a workshop with representatives from across the healthcare disciplines – doctors, nurses, nutritionists, dieticians physiotherapists and academics – and there was such an energy and momentum in the room,” said Mahendra Patel, who contributed to the report as a member of the RPS English Pharmacy Board (EPB), and recently collaborated with Diabetes Digital Media’s Chief Medical Officer Campbell Muroch on a British Journal of General Practice paper highlighting how low carb diets can help doctors make informed decisions about their patients’ medications.

“Pharmacists don’t often shout about what we do, so it was nice to see other medical professionals shouting about what we can do,” she added.

Claire Anderson, chair of the RPS EPB, said: “Linking pharmacists into the formal structure of care pathways and services has potential to dramatically improve the health of patients. It would create capacity and access in the system, and enable pharmacists to adopt a person-centred approach to diabetes care which helps patients get the most benefit from their medicines.”

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