Following an engaging presentation by MD Paddy Hickey, the first external speaker of the day was Sorcha McKenna, Principal with McKinsey Ireland. Ms. McKenna highlighted many European and Global trends across the Pharma sector. She was able to show that many of the trends we are seeing here have been taking place globally. In addition to supermarkets and wholesalers moving into the retail pharmacy sector, private equity firms are also taking a closer look. She ended her presentation by giving some examples of how health systems across Europe are moving towards integrated care.
Next up were Ruth McDonnell and Cora Nestor from the PSI. In keeping with the theme of embracing and influencing change Hickey’s were delighted to have the PSI in attendance. If pharmacists are to have a greater influence on the future of Pharmacy, engagement with the regulator is a necessity. Ruth McDonnell, Inspection and Enforcement Manager spoke on the Pharmacy Assessment Project which is currently in pilot stage. She gave an overview of how pharmacists would conduct such an audit and the how this can promote continuous practice improvement.
Cora Nestor, Head of Pharmacy Practice Development spoke about the Future Pharmacy Project which is near completion. It was useful to remind the attendees of the role of the PSI not only as an enforcer, but as a body with a duty to improve the profession of Pharmacy. Although the final report is yet to be published Ms. Nestor was able to provide some insights into the report and it’s focus on meeting patients’ needs.
After lunch community pharmacist Nick Kaye spoke about pharmacy in the UK. Mr. Kay is a former pharmacist of the year and a very active member of the NPA. UK pharmacy payments continue to fall, with the recent cuts threatening to close 3000 Pharmacies. UK pharmacies are already averaging about 7000 items per month so the move towards high volume dispensing continues. On a more upbeat note Mr. Kaye explained the model of Local Commissioning and how this works in the UK. This model allows pharmacists to present a case at local level for reimbursement for a service. He spoke of being able to secure funding for a pilot programme on domiciliary visits, and how he was able to prove the cost-benefit of the service. This model of securing funding has forced pharmacies in an area to work together to deliver services. He highlighted the importance of pharmacies working together to increase the size of the pie before they start fighting over their share.
Innovation was the theme of the final speaker of the day. DR Peter Robbins of Maynooth University inspired the audience to look at ways to innovate. In a lively session the pharmacists got to practice innovating as a team by building a tower of spaghetti with a marshmallow precariously balanced on top. The exercise was used to demonstrate how a team dynamic can promote and stifle innovation.
The conference encouraged them not to bystanders in their own profession but to take a more active role, and to recognise and use their powers of influence to “be the change you want to see”.