Rob Oakley

April 19, 2016, by Editor

The King’s Fund Conference, February 2016

This blog has been written by Robert Oakley, one of our third year undergraduate students. it is the first of four posts about his experience in attending a King’s Fund conference in February 2016 on “Commissioning person-centred care for vulnerable groups: what role does pharmacy play?”.

Hi, Robert Oakleymy name is Rob and I am an undergraduate pharmacy student at the University of Nottingham. I am interested in identifying needs in the healthcare sector and driving innovation to meet these needs. The School very kindly assisted me to attend a ‘King’s Fund’ conference in February 2016 and I want to share with you what I found out as I feel the information I have to share is important for all of our future careers.

To set the scene, the King’s Fund is an independent English health charity that shapes health and social care policy and practice, provides NHS leadership development, and hosts health conferences with key stakeholders to discuss issues affecting UK healthcare. The conference I attended featured chief NHS policy makers, representatives from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Members of Parliament, academics, commissioners, a variety of different healthcare professionals, and patients. The purpose of the conference was to establish how pharmacy could make a significant clinical and economic impact in terms of providing services to vulnerable patients. For simplicity, vulnerable patients were classed into four group: children and young people, care home residents, people with mental health issues and those with learning difficulties. I attended sessions exploring pharmacists’ role within care homes.

“Pharmacy isn’t what it used to be.” This is a phrase that is usually spun in a negative context which some of you may be familiar with… But what if this phrase was turned on its head? Could the profession in fact be offering more exciting opportunities than ever before?

In case you were wondering, the answer is yes! “But how?” I hear you ask.

Given the recent bad press around student numbers and pharmacy cuts; life as a pharmacy graduate can be a somewhat daunting future prospect. But as I found out, it really doesn’t have to be and I have been trying to find some light at the end of the tunnel.


A full video recording of the daylong conference is available and I’m going to share with you the key messages of the conference in the following three blogs:
1) What does the community pharmacy environment in the UK look like and how as a pharmacist can you drive innovation and change?
2) Case study on care home residents – why are pharmacists needed in care homes and how can better healthcare be delivered to members within this vulnerable group?
3) What is the political driver behind future pharmacy service provision and what can we learn from what has  already been done?

I’ll cover each of these issues in my next three blogs. Do come back to take a look over the next few weeks!


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