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Home  »   Latest News   »   PDA attends the annual Northern Ireland Pharmacy Conference

PDA attends the annual Northern Ireland Pharmacy Conference

On 31 May, Kyron Media hosted the Northern Ireland Pharmacy Conference in ICC Belfast. PDA Chairman, Mark Koziol joined a panel of renowned speakers at the conference. PDA National Officer for Northern Ireland, Una O’Farrell also attended the conference and has shared her experience.

Fri 9th June 2023 The PDA

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Northern Ireland (NI), Cathy Harrison was the first to take the stage and spoke of the wide range of work her office embarked upon across different sectors in pharmacy. Cathy indicated the pending release of a pharmacy workforce review and acknowledged the need for engagement with individual pharmacists, particularly those in the community sector as she mentioned restructuring there. Cathy also acknowledged the limitations her office faced by the consistent lack of a government in Stormont.

Next to take the floor was the Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy NI, Gerard Greene. Gerard spoke of the passion and drive that pharmacist contractors must have to remain accessible to patients. Gerard also spoke of how community pharmacy is well placed and capable to support and act as a safety net for GP and primary care services. This is a crucial part of the healthcare system but has faced great challenges under the current precarious arrangements.

Chief Executive of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Michaela McAleer attended the conference for the first time and spoke of her vision for the PSNI to be an agile modern regulator. Michaela spoke of her drive to support registrants back to practise should a period away from work arise all while maintaining and building public confidence in the profession simultaneously.

Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) Professor, Colin McCoy spoke on the holistic contribution of academia to pharmacy in NI, and wider afield. Colin acknowledged that both local universities, QUB and University College Cork, consistently ranked highly in league table scores of best Schools of Pharmacy in the UK. Colin spoke of the importance of building undergraduates into future leaders and the training facilities in the school, as well as some of the highly esteemed research that the university both leads and contributes to.

PDA Chairman, Mark Koziol gave a powerful presentation outlining the learnings from the Medicines to Ukraine campaign. Mark introduced the next steps to get the infrastructure in place in the event of a future crisis needing international humanitarian efforts.

In the afternoon, Head of the Medicines Regulatory Group at the Department of Health, Canice Ward, delivered on areas of high risk for pharmacists. This was in regards to medicines legislation and learnings on where things have gone wrong throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and other global crises since.

Last up from Pharmacy Forum NI, Julie Greenfield, and Sheelin McKeagney delivered a presentation on how the professional leadership body strove to elevate the profile of the profession through the Attract Recruit Retain Campaign. They discussed the emergence of pharmacy champions as well as various other workstreams they contributed to.

The conference was attended by all sectors of pharmacy, with several promotional stands in the foyer providing further networking chances and opportunities for lively debate. Some PDA GP Federation members and reps were in attendance along with some PDA student members who participated in the discussions. Many thanks to all at Kyron Media for having us, and we look forward to 6 June next year.

By PDA National Officer for Northern Ireland, Una O’Farrell 

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