Brussels, 13 March 2023. Last Wednesday, the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) and the European Society of Clinical Pharmacy (ESCP) brought together representatives of the healthcare community to talk about the provision of compassionate patient care, working as part of the healthcare team and advancing the clinical and hospital pharmacy profession. The discussion at the European Parliament focused on unmet health needs, clinical pharmacy services, workforce shortages and the impact of medication errors and the lack of comprehensive, and European-wide data on their occurrence.
Many did not know before the launch of the EAHP-ESCP Oath to Society in October 2021 that both professions carry out a variety of activities to ensure optimal treatment outcomes for patients. Almost 1,5 years after the launch, EAHP and ESCP decided to take stock and obtain insights from other stakeholders on how clinical and hospital pharmacists can continue to deliver on the promises included in the Oath to Society.
Reflecting on the value of the initiative ahead of the event, Martina Hahn, ESCP General Committee Member, pointed out that “the Oath to Society is an important step to raise awareness of the profession of pharmacists and clinical pharmacists in particular. All faculties across Europe received the Oath and if all students and all pharmacists in Europe stick to them and take on the new responsibilities now, every citizen will know what to expect from every pharmacist in Europe – a highly professional service to his or her best health and safety in regards to drug therapy.”
The event in the European Parliament – hosted by Member of the European Parliament István Ujhelyi – brought together key stakeholders that are engaging closely with clinical and hospital pharmacists. The panellists Thomas Kanga-Tona (AIM – International Association of Mutual Benefit Societies), Juan José Fernández Romero (EPF – European Patients’ Forum), Ber Oomen (ESNO – European Specialist Nurses Organisation), Pascal Garel (HOPE – European Hospital and Healthcare Federation) and Marc Hermans (UEMS – European Union of Medical Specialists) shared their positive experiences in working collaboratively with clinical and hospital pharmacists and showed why multidisciplinary approaches are paramount for improving patient care and lowering medication errors, not only in times when healthcare systems are burdened by shortages of medicines and healthcare staff.
The Oath to Society is the promise that the members of EAHP and ESCP make to patients and the public they serve, the healthcare professionals they interact with and the health systems they work in. The Oath functions as a compass for pharmacists to adhere to the highest standards of ethics, integrity and professionalism, as they provide service to the community over the course of their careers. Touching on trust and respect, different aspects of the patient care pathway, the multidisciplinary care team, disease prevention and health promotion, education and the future development of pharmacy practice, the Oath to Society is all-encompassing. In his closing remarks during the launch event, EAHP President András Süle thanked the participants for their valuable input and underlined that “EAHP and ESCP look forward to working on increasing the visibility of the Oath to Society by further disseminating them among patient and healthcare professional organisations, the reimbursement of clinical pharmacy and keeping the discussion alive with patients, physicians, nurses, health providers and payers.”
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1. The European Society of Clinical Pharmacy (ESCP) is an organization that promotes, supports, implements and advances education, practice and research in clinical pharmacy in order to optimize outcomes for patients and society. More information about the ESCP and its history here.
2. The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) is an association of national organisations across 35 countries representing hospital pharmacists at European and international levels. More information about the EAHP and its history here.
In 2017, during the first year of my PhD studies, I attended my first ESCP conference in Heidelberg, Germany. The value of sharing experiences and have discussions among colleagues from different countries was evident to me, having been active within an EU-funded project. Clinical pharmacists in many countries are facing the same challenges and are concurrently working with the same possible solutions. After the conference, I became a member of ESCP and attended more (digital) events in the following years. After finishing my PhD on medication reviews by clinical pharmacists in hospitalised patients, I started as a post doc on the role of the pharmacist in primary care with a focus on pharmacist prescribing. In 2022, I was lucky to successfully apply for a position as ESCP General Committee member. With a fresh look, I hope to drive the society forward in connecting as many clinical pharmacy researchers, educators and practitioners from Europe and abroad as possible. With high-quality events and activities (for a reasonable price) ESCP shall provide a platform for all to connect and network and to share knowledge, experiences, and ideas. For this year, we have been working on excellent programmes for our conferences in Antwerp, Belgium (April) and Aberdeen, UK (Oct/Nov). And for the upcoming years, we are working on a sustainable medium to long term event strategy concerning the selection, planning and organisation of our events, ensuring high-quality and affordable events for our members. In doing so, ESCP shall continue to support all of us in advancing clinical pharmacy to optimize outcomes for patients and society in the future.
Update from the General Committee (by Derek Stewart)
The General Committee is the ESCP leadership body and is responsible for driving the strategy of the society. Since the General Assembly meeting in Prague, we have been focusing on several key areas including,
the benefits that we provide to our members
review of the annual plans from the Communication, Research and Education Committees and the Special Interest Group Council
the society marketing and communication strategy
our approaches to event planning
relationships with national clinical pharmacy societies
relationships with international societies and organisations
We are delighted to have entered into an agreement of joint working with SIFaCT – Società Italiana di Farmacia Clinica e Terapia (Italian Society of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics).
Update from the Communication Committee (by Derek Stewart)
Over the past year, the communication committee has been working very hard to refresh the communication approach. As well as the work developing and introducing the newsletter, we have refreshed our approach to social media and email. We are very active on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, with posts almost every day. Please follow us, like, comment, retweet and share the posts to increase the reach of our messages. Over the next few months, we will turn our attention to piloting an ‘ambassador’ initiative with ESCP members advocating for the society at national levels.
Update from the Education Committee (by Kateřina Malá Ládová)
The ESCP Education Committee (EdCom) coordinates the educational activities of ESCP and oversees the scientific level of these activities. The EdCom consists of pharmacy educators who meet monthly and collaborate on initiatives aligned to the ESCP strategic goals. The committee is now led by Kateřina Malá-Ládová from the Czech Republic as Chair and Zachariah Nazar from Qatar as Vice-chair; other committee members include representatives from Belgium, Poland, Turkey, and USA.
The EdCom has responsibility for ESCP webinar program and leads on all other educational activities. The committee also participates in the construction of the scientific programs of the ESCP events as well as delivers workshops, lectures, or oral communications in the ESCP events.
Initiatives of the EdCom for 2023 include: implementation of a plan to optimize the ESCP webinars with the addition of resources to encourage further interactive learning; the delivery of a pharmacy education workshop at the 51st ESCP Autumn Symposium; and the development of a clinical case study resource. We will also be exploring the educational needs and expectation of ESCP members, and are open to any suggestions for collaboration.
Currently, EdCom has five members, one of whom is a representative of the ESCP General Committee. We will very soon welcome three new members who will support the work of the committee.
Update from the Research Committee (by Martin Henman and Betül Okuyan)
Last year at ESCP General Assembly held during annual symposium in Prague, Martin Henman took over the chair of ESCP Research Committee from Vibhu Paudyal, and Betul Okuyan has become a vice chair of the Committee. There are nine members of the Research Committee. Anita Weidmann and Francesca Wirth have also joined ESCP Research Committee last year.
The commentary written by ESCP Research Committee members, led by Anita Weidmann entitled “How to write a successful grant application: Guidance provided by the European Society of Clinical Pharmacy” has been accepted for publication in International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy in 2023. Please check “how to… series” materials at ESCP website under Guidelines and Tools headings. ESCP Research Committee members are working on new topics which will be launched soon.
Vibhu Paudyal will run ESCP Research Committee Webinar entitled “How to write a research paper” on March 7th 2023 at 7.00 pm CEST.
ESCP Research committee members are working on a study protocol which aims to determine the clinical pharmacy research priorities of ESCP members and on a systematic review to identify the scope and quality of international clinical pharmacy practice guidelines. The Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists (SIDP) and ESCP deprescribing research collaboration is led by Vibhu Paudyal and Anita Weidmann on the behalf of ESCP Research Committee.
To ensure the quantity, quality and rigour of research abstracts submitted to ESCP Spring and October meetings, the fourth iteration of version 6 of the Guidelines for Successful Scientific Presentations is being adapted by the ESCP Research Committee through the efforts of Ankie Hazen, Martin Henman, Betul Okuyan, led by Anita E Weidmann. Anita Weidmann is also preparing a presentation video including key tips for authors who is planning to submit abstracts to ESCP Meetings.
Abstract review is complete for the ESCP Spring Workshop 2023 in Antwerp. Preparation of a masterclass and a workshop for 51st ESCP Symposium are underway by Committee members. Martin Henman is a chair of the Organizing Committee and Ankie Hazen and Anita Weidmann are members of the Scientific Committee of the Aberdeen ESCP Symposium 2023.
Update from the Special Interest Group (SIG) Council (by Bart Pouls)
For those who have not noticed yet: the ESCP has revived its Special Interest Group (SIG) community and currently there are three active SIGs: deprescribing, mental health and young ESCP.
Apart from the new topics, a few other things have changed. New is that SIG membership is active. Being part of a SIG means you will actively help to achieve the SIGs goals. SIGs set themselves with attainable goals every year or two in order to remain an active group. SIGs will make sure that interesting output (such as webinars or documents) will be shared with ESCP members. SIGs are now led by a steering group. The steering group consists of four to six SIG members who take responsibility for part of the SIGs activities such as communication or working towards a SIG goal.
Interested in joining on of the SIGs or starting one with fellow ESCP members? Please click here for more information.
Update from the Young ESCP SIG (by Mina Kovačevič)
YESCP welcomes young professionals, and young at heart to join us on the journey through the uncovered pathway of clinical pharmacy. We aim to connect recent graduates on a professional as well as social level through webinars, mentoring projects or social dinner @ESCP events. Join our SIG and discover what we have to offer. We are looking forward to getting to know you, and shape the future of clinical pharmacy in Europe, and worldwide together!
Update from the ESCP SIG on Deprescribing (by Betül Okuyan)
A new ESCP Special Interest Group (SIG) on Deprescribing was launched at our first and second kick-off meetings (October 20th, 2021, during the ESCP Autumn Symposium and November 30th, 2021). Panel discussion with the participation of global deprescribing experts (Barbara Farrell-Canada, Denis O’ Mahony- Ireland, Mirko Petrovic-Belgium, Stephen Byrne as a moderator) titled “Barriers and Facilitators to Achieving the Goal of Deprescribing” was held on March 28th, 2022. Workshop on deprescribing in neurological disorders was moderated by Monika Lutters at ESCP Spring Workshop- 28-29 April 2022 in Zürich, Switzerland.
During last year, three online meeting was held with ESCP SIG Deprescribing members. ESCP SIG Deprescribing Group Meeting in person was held during the ESCP Prague Symposium – 19-21 October 2022 in Prague, Czech Republic. This meeting was open to all attendees of the symposium. At SIG Hot topics session of ESCP Prague Symposium 2022- Polypharmacy and Ageing- highly-individualized, person-centered care, Stephen Byrne presented the lecture entitled “Deprescribing in Europe & other countries: current initiatives and ongoing activities.”. Our next plan is conducting a baseline survey on deprescribing initiatives in all countries in Europe, both research and practice activities.
ESCP SIG on Deprescribing was organized Global Journal Club with The Australian Deprescribing Network (ADeN), Canadian Deprescribing Network, and the US Deprescribing Research Network (USDeN). Second International Deprescribing Journal Club was hosted by ESCP. iSIMPATHY (implementing Stimulating Innovation in the Management of Polypharmacy and Adherence Through the Years) is an EU funded partnership between Ireland, Scotland and Northern Ireland delivering person-centred, pharmacist-led medication reviews across primary and secondary care. Pharmacist representatives from the iSIMPATHY project in each of the three countries presented the project data to date and also reflected on the implementation of iSIMPATHY in their own areas. For more details (including recording and slides of presentation) click here.
ESCP SIG Deprescribing membership is available to all ESCP members. If you are not an ESCP member yet, please become a member of ESCP to activate your membership for the ESCP SIG Deprescribing. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any further information you may need at firstname.lastname@example.org
Update from the ESCP SIG on Mental Health (by Martina Hahn)
In 2023 Mental Health SIG had its first meeting. After two meetings, the SIG will start to work on a paper about the provision of pharmaceutical care in the different European countries as well as provision of pharmaceutical care in mental health.
Also, the paper look for reimbursement methods of each country. With this paper, SIG hopes to give other some foundation for their argumentation on the National level to achieve a reimbursement and provision on clinical pharmacy for people with mental health issues
The 50th ESCP Symposium “Polypharmacy and ageing” took place in congress hotel Olšanka, Prague, Czech Republic on October 19 – 21, 2022 and emphasized the important role of clinical pharmacists in the resolution of drug-therapy problems in older adults. These individuals often have multiple chronic disease conditions treated by polypharmacy. Almost 500 professionals of various background from EU and non-EU countries attended this event.
The pre-symposium event was the Masterclass on Excellence in Research oriented to “Methodologies in Deprescribing”, organized by ESCP Research Committee o led by Assoc. Prof. Cathal Cadogan and Dr. Juliette O´Connel (Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland).
The official opening ceremony commenced with a welcome from the ESCP President, Prof. Derek Stewart, highlighting key initiatives of ESCP and progressing the development of clinical pharmacy education, science, and practice in Europe. Prof. Stewart applauded the work of all ESCP committees, and the recently launched Special Interest Groups on “Deprescribing”, “Mental Health” and “Young ESCP”.
Assoc. Prof. Daniela Fialová, President of the symposium emphasized major achievements of Czech clinical pharmacy, particularly establishing fully reimbursed clinical pharmacy positions in acute (2010) and ambulatory care (2020) by Czech Professional Society of Clinical Pharmacists of J.B. Purkyně. She welcomed honorable guests of the Czech Republic, particularly Deans of both Faculties of Pharmacy in Hradec Králové and Brno, representatives of the Institute for Postgraduate Education in HealthCare and State Institute for Drug Control, representatives of the Czech clinical pharmacy platforms, Czech pharmaceutical and medical societies and the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic.
ESCP Fellowships were awarded to Prof. Filipa Alves da Costa (Portugal), Prof. Stephane Steubart (Belgium), and Prof. Bart van den Bemt (the Netherlands) for their outstanding contributions to clinical pharmacy education, practice and research in Europe.
Filipa Alves da Costa is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy University of Lisbon, where she leads the Pharmaceutical Care and Clinical Pharmacy Laboratory. She is Associate Editor of the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, Frontiers in Pharmacology and Pharmacy Education. She is immediate past Chair of the ESCP Education Committee and was President of the 2021 annual symposium.
Hege Salvesen Blix is Professor in Clinical Pharmacy at the University of Oslo and a pioneer of clinical pharmacy in Norway. She has been a member of ESCP for many years, most recently being a member of the General Committee and representative on the Education Committee.
Bart van den Bemt is Professor of Personalized Pharmaceutical Care at Radboud University/Radboud university medical center. He has a long history of involvement in national and international pharmacy organizations. He has had many roles at ESCP, most notably that of immediate past President.
Stephane Steurbaut is Sector Lead for research, education, and innovation at the Department of Hospital Pharmacy, UZ Brussel, Belgium and Associate Professor in Pharmaceutical Care, Faculty of Medicine & Pharmacy, VUB, Belgium. Like Bart, he also has had many roles at ESCP, most notably that of immediate past Secretary to the General Committee.
The ESCP President thanked all four for their international leadership in clinical pharmacy, highlighting their specific impacts on ESCP.
Czech national awards were given to renowned persons supporting advances in clinical pharmacy nationally, Prof. Ludmila Kameníková, Prof. Jiří Vlček, Prof. Tomáš Šimůnek, PharmDr. Jana Gregorová, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof. Daniela Fialová, PharmD, Ph.D. and PharmDr. Milada Halačová, Ph.D.
The first plenary lecture of Prof. Graziano Onder (Roma, Italy) focused on increasing trends in multimorbidity in older adults, strategies to diagnose geriatric syndromes and how to prevent geriatric drug-related morbidity and polypharmacy. Prof. Tobias Dreischult (Munich, Germany) emphasized the role of clinical pharmacists in resolution of polypharmacy and multidrug therapy problems in complex older adults, as well as the importance of the Theory of Planned Behaviour for making long-term change in prescribing and ensuring positive impact of clinical pharmacy services. Prof. Carmel Hughes (Dublin, Ireland) delivered the Steve Hudson Memorial Lecture highlighting facilitators and barriers to clinical pharmacy research and the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic on complex research activities, particularly on projects in multimorbid older patients in primary care. She noted future opportunities and challenges to clinical pharmacy research in geriatric polypharmacy. Further plenary lectures highlighted the specific approaches of pharmacotherapy and care for complex older patients, impact of population ageing, new European initiatives in reducing polypharmacy burden in complex older adults (e.g., EU projects SENATOR, OPERAM, EuroAgeism-ESR7, I-CARE4OLD and the others) and other specific topics of geriatric clinical pharmacy. Main plenary lectures were accompanied by interesting workshops, oral and poster presentations, and round table discussions.
Political representatives featured throughout the program, including a round table discussion targeted at supporting reimbursement of clinical pharmacy services in different settings of care and different European countries. Representatives included Prof. Alpana Mair from Scotland (Chair of the European projects focused on polypharmacy- EU SIMPATHY and i-SIMPATHY), Prof. Mateo Cesari, Switzerland (Ageing Unit of the World Health Organization), Dr. Francois-Lery Xavier and Dr. Silvia Ravella, France (European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and Healthcare of the European Council), Prof. Barbro Westerholm, Sweden (Age Platform Europe, Brussels) and Prof. Angela Kydd, UK (the EUROAGEISM H2020 project) contributed to policy talks and discussions.
Two affiliated symposia had participation of clinical pharmacists from Central and Eastern Europe (1) on establishing paid research positions of clinical pharmacists in various settings of care and (2) collaboration of clinical pharmacists and physicians in care for older adults using polypharmacy in different healthcare settings (3 and 4) Research Symposia of the EU projects I-CARE4OLD H2020 (2021-2025) and EuroAgeism ESR7 H2020 (2017-2022) (Oct 20, 2022). These symposia aimed to inspire participants in supporting development of paid clinical pharmacy positions and to stimulate European research in geriatric clinical pharmacy and deprescribing.
We would like to thank to all members of the symposium Organizing and Scientific Committees, all plenary speakers, Masterclass and workshop moderators, active and passive participants, ESCP committee members, policy representatives, professional conference organizer C-IN, International Office, and local organizing teams from congress venue Olšanka, as well as student helpers from the Faculty of Pharmacy, Charles University in Hradec Králové for their help and excellent support of the whole organization of Prague ESCP congress! Many thanks also to all our sponsors!
Text: Assoc. Prof. Daniela Fialová, PharmD, Ph.D. and Organizing Committee of Prague 2022 ESCP congress
Photos: Rudolf Kovář, Andrea Pezzillo, Andrea Vokálová
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