One major challenge that the pharmacy professions has is its lack of unity; whether real or perceived, its the same thing. Yes we have multi-sector representation all of which have different perspectives which is healthy and positive, but surely we all work towards the same goal – the provision of high quality pharmaceutical care (The pharmacist’s contribution to the care of individuals in order to optimise medicines use and improve health outcomes, PCNE 2014), self care, health protection and prevention.
This lack of unity wastes time, energy, focus and opportunity and is often used against us to divide and rule. We must put behind us the often mis-informed hierarchical baggage and sectorial egos of the past and move the professions forward to occupy the space that we, the public and the health systems require.
Change begins at the individual level but the pharmacy organisations have a role through strong leadership by example and by listening to and supporting the needs of their memberships.
The word integration is increasingly appearing in government health documents and thought leadership publications, but what does it really mean? Integration is the inverse of differentiation yet we continue to differentiate. Integration also means to combine two or more things to be more effective. Until we cease differentiating it is going to be difficult to successfully integrate us within a joined-up healthcare system with other professions.
The time has come to grasp the nettle, time to unite, time to be proud of who we are and what we do, time to become joined-up, time to stop talking and do and be.