Episode 5, The Future of Medicines Optimisation by Selma Abed

Welcome to the last episode of our mini-series, ‘The Future of Medicines Optimisation’. Our incredible speakers have offered new insights and inspiring ideas on the challenges and difficulties we all face.

By on March 29, 2023

At Spirit, we work with medicines optimisation teams across the UK, so we know how important it is to keep providing a platform for our NHS peers. In this episode, Selma Abed, Head of Medicines Optimisation here at Spirit Health, shares her thoughts and key takeaways from the mini-series.

Watch the video and listen to her take on how:


  1. Stakeholder mapping is vital to delivering successful projects within an ICS.
  2. Pharmacists must be proactive to ensure their collective voices are heard to step up in medicines optimisation.
  3. Hybrid roles can benefit both ICSs and pharmacists when addressing capacity challenges.
  4. Medicines optimisation pathways should engage community pharmacy as a priority.

Working from the ground level, upwards

Our speakers bought their expertise to address various issues and provide solutions to overcome them.

One recurring theme was that we need to work from the ground level upwards, recognise where teams have been successful in the past and share our practices and insights with broader teams. ICSs by design, have more extensive outreach now, so we have more experience and knowledge to lean on within these structures.

As mentioned in this episode, stakeholder mapping would further enable opportunities within ICSs. Multiple stakeholders across primary, secondary and community should be collaborating and talking, so patients across the entire pathway benefit from seamless care.

This must start from the ground level up; community pharmacy is frequently highlighted as an area where we can draw patient insights and gauge the momentum of medicines optimisation programmes. I feel senior stakeholders must forge and build strong communication pathways down to community level as a priority to benefit from end-to-end stakeholder mapping.

As the most visible and accessible gateway for patients, community pharmacists must be involved in ICS-wide initiatives so their teams can support patients at ground level to ensure medicines optimisation programme objectives are met.

One collective voice

At a recent roundtable hosted by Spirit Health, I asked, ‘how can we future-proof medicines optimisation services and deliver agreed work plans within an ICS?’

The table, representing primary, secondary and community pharmacy alongside medicines optimisation professionals, unanimously echoed that pharmacists must be aligned with the ICS agenda.

To fulfil successful medicines optimisation services within an ICS, pharmacists must have one collective voice and ensure all communication pathways are inclusive. We as pharmacists should recognise our expertise to promote change for a long-lasting positive impact on patient lives. If there is an opportunity to build a forum or a shared space across an ICS, we can all share best practices, experiences and common challenges.

Having one voice across an ICS allows priorities to be universally agreed upon and communicated. Through a single, streamlined chain of command, medicines optimisation pathways can fulfil and improve patient outcomes, benefitting from shared experience and specialised knowledge.

It’s time to step up

A significant benefit of having ‘one collective voice’ is ensuring that the voice is heard. In an ICS environment, collaboration and recognising the collective team’s skills are the key drivers to meaningful change. However, the responsibility to achieve those changes lies with us, the pharmacists. Only when we recognise skillsets and experience can we communicate that through the ICS.

Hybrid working has given us the visibility and hands-on experience to recognise challenges across various points within the patient pathway. We have a duty to ask questions and feedback on those insights to stakeholders so we can collectively improve future processes to ease the strain on our workforce.

We must ask if our teams are unified – what changes can we make to become more so? Our work directly impacts patients and their quality of life, so any advancements we personally make will benefit the impact of our work in the long run

The next steps

Thank you for watching our mini-series. We hope you’ve enjoyed each bite-sized episode bringing you up to speed on current issues.

We would love to know what you think and what you’ve got to add. Please comment below to share your experiences and thoughts on the episode.

If you’d like to discuss any topic we’ve covered in more detail or you’d like to request some information, please reach out to me on Twitter or by email.


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