Pharmacy must ‘up its game in terms of quality’, England’s chief pharmaceutical officer has said.

‘Poor quality services and outcomes do our professions no favours whatsoever and although we continue to operate under financial constraints, be under no illusions [that] the quality bar is being raised across the NHS,’ Keith Ridge told delegates at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) annual conference on Monday (4 September).

Professions across the NHS must adapt, and pharmacy is no exception if the sector is to offer patients the quality and value expected of it, Mr Ridge said.

He added: ‘In my view, therefore, pharmacy needs to think more systematically about quality. There are experts in quality systems in the [pharmacy] professions. They need to be used more.’

'Not open to change'

Mr Ridge told delegates that it can sometimes appear that the sector ‘is not open to change’. But pharmacy must be ' respond to the quality and value demanded' of it, he warned.

In order for patients to get the most of their medicines, pharmacy must see itself within 'broader system of quality' in the wider healthcare system, Mr ridge said.

He said: 'Ultimately, we need a system whereby pharmaceutical skills can be deployed in the right place at the right time so patients can benefit as much as possible.'

He continued: 'The quality expected simply can’t be delivered if we remain tied up in old ways of working that simply restrict many pharmacy professionals from doing their best for patients.'

‘Significant opposition’ to cuts

Mr Ridge opened his address by acknowledging that the Government's cuts to English community pharmacy funding had made the past two years ' say the least'.

He said: ' I personally fully acknowledge there is significant opposition to the government’s changes for community pharmacy, which I take on board and I hear and I understand.

'I also completely acknowledge that there is much good practice out there and I would like to thank all pharmacy professionals, wherever they practice, for the good care they deliver day in day out.'