Gastroenterology patients require increasingly specialist pharmaceutical input. The pharmacological treatments of gastroenterology patients are complex and rapidly progressing. Essential clinical expertise and clinical leadership in this continuously changing arena is required of us pharmacists providing services to gastroenterology patients. Many treatment decisions made require a specialist pharmacist with not only an understanding of all the clinical issues, but who is also part of the multidisciplinary team. Our understanding of national and international clinical guidelines and participation in strategic networks is key to providing expert advice and leadership that encompasses a clinical, operational and strategic overview.
The difference in pharmacists’ roles when caring for gastroenterology patients varies across Europe. There are different levels of responsibility, involvement in different aspects of care such as dispensing, the multidisciplinary team, research and development of innovative aspects of care. This might vary widely from country to country and even hospital to hospital depending on the local disease epidemiology and the gastroenterology team.
In the UK, an increasing number of pharmacists are getting involved in the clinical multidisciplinary team,1 infusion clinics and operational networks.2 We deliver care and efficiencies across a wide population for high-cost drugs in addition to traditional pharmaceutical care delivered at the bedside, and dispensing medication in the hospital pharmacy department.
A specialist pharmacist can lead and initiate complex treatments based on balancing uncertainties and provide a resource point to direct high quality patient care.
An aim is to establish a network of European pharmacists involved in the care of the gastroenterology and hepatology patient, to assess the current pharmacy practice across Europe and to provide a platform to share best practice and support development initiatives.
The objectives of a European network of gastroenterology pharmacists would be:
- To request information on pharmacist current level of education and establish common training needs
- To explore the professional roles of gastroenterology pharmacists providing information on the specific details of their work, role and level of autonomy
- To provide a platform to share best practice
- To provide a forum to discuss current practice issues
We would initially conduct a short survey to establish current practice and research training needs and provide a networking platform to share best practice helping directing high quality delivery and monitoring of clinical services.
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- St Clair Jones A, Smith M. Embedding pharmaceutical care into the multidisciplinary team. ECCO 2015; abstract P306. www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/event/inflammatory-bowel-patients-benefit-from-independent-prescriber-interventions/20065923.article (last accessed October 2016).
- Swabe J. The role of the specialist pharamcist in managing the pharmaceutical care needs of patients treated for Hepatitis C within an operational network. BASL 2016; Abstract 108. www.baslannualmeeting.org.uk/uploads/Abstracts/Hepatitis/P108.pdf (last accessed October 2016).