Department of Health supports developing Consultant Pharmacist Role

Date published: 22 June 2023

The Department has today published ‘A Guide to Developing the Role of Consultant Pharmacists in Northern Ireland’.

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The guidance provides direction on supporting a consistent approach to the introduction of senior clinical pharmacy roles within and across HSC organisations.

Consultant Pharmacists are clinical experts, working at a senior level with other senior clinicians and colleagues in the care of patients. As leaders in their therapeutic area and profession, they work to the four pillars of clinical practice, leadership, research, and education to deliver improved care and drive change across the healthcare system.

Health and Wellbeing 2026 - Delivering Together, committed to advance the talent and skills of the entire HSC workforce to help ensure that patients receive the highest standard of care. One of the recommendations in the 2020 published Pharmacy Workforce Review is to further develop the Consultant Pharmacist role to ensure on-going provision of clinical leadership across all pharmacy sectors in Northern Ireland.

The introduction of Consultant Pharmacist posts into the HSC in Northern Ireland, is an important step towards achieving these objectives.

The Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Professor Cathy Harrison said: “There is a recognised need for increased clinical pharmacy and medicines focussed leadership across our HSC. Consultant Pharmacists have an essential role in healthcare as clinicians and as leaders who make a significant impact to medicines optimisation and clinical governance, providing a vital link between clinical practice and service development by generating and disseminating evidence to drive improvements in care. I am delighted that this guidance has been published to take forward the strategic development and appointment of the consultant pharmacy workforce in both primary and secondary care and to enable pharmacy to be at the forefront of healthcare in NI”.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Department’s Pharmacy Workforce Review was published in 2020 together with an action plan.
  2. It contains 17 recommendations outlining the HSC pharmacy workforce needs over the next 10 years.
  3. A Steering Group meets quarterly and is overseeing implementation of the recommendations in the action plan.
  4. One of the recommendations is to further develop the Consultant Pharmacist role to ensure on-going provision of clinical leadership across all pharmacy sectors in Northern Ireland.
  5. A Short Life Working Group was established to take forward this action (reporting to the Pharmacy Workforce Review Steering Group).
  6. Their objectives were to complete an analysis of the current Consultant Pharmacist workforce, describe a workforce model to support HSC transformation and make recommendations regarding the future direction of travel taking into consideration new healthcare strategies.
  7. The group has produced this report as a guide to developing the role of the Consultant Pharmacists in NI. It is available on the Department website.
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  10. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours’ service for Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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