(1994; 60 pages)
5.2 The pharmacist in the health team
At all levels of health care, the provision of care is multiprofessional. The health care team, which is inevitably concerned with the use of drugs, must therefore include a pharmacist. This has been adequately demonstrated in the team approach to clinical care in hospitals and health centres.
In 1985, a WHO Expert Committee (1) on health manpower requirements for the achievement for health for all stated that:
“The pursuit of health for all through the primary health care approach will require the redefinition of the roles and functions of all categories of health personnel including those of physicians, nurses and other health professionals, such as dentists, pharmacists, sanitary engineers, etc., who will have to accept membership in, and if justified, leadership responsibility for, the health team.”
The Expert Committee stated that a health team:
“...is a group of persons who share a common health goal and common objectives, determined by community needs, towards the achievement of which each member of the team contributes, in a coordinated manner, in accordance with his/her competence and skills, and respecting the functions of others.”
“If the health-team concept is to become a reality, each member of the health team must contribute to and benefit from its functioning. Instead of being viewed as performing specialized tasks within the narrow confines of their past professional training, health professionals must assume new leadership tasks, including the supervision and provision of continuing education to other members of the team, as well as relating to them in the spirit of equality in the achievement of a common objective.”
Clearly, therefore, pharmacy manpower planning should take place in an integrated, multiprofessional framework.
As a basic principle in manpower planning, pharmacists must be involved whenever potent medicines are supplied. Where this is still not yet possible, owing to shortages of pharmacists, planning must provide for interim arrangements such as the use of pharmacy support staff working according to procedures determined by pharmacists, and as far as possible with regular monitoring by pharmacists.