How the Oath to Society underpins clinical pharmacy practice

Written by | 13 Aug 2023 | 'In Discussion With'

The Oath to Society, jointly developed by ESCP and EAHP underpins clinical pharmacy services and highlights pharmacists’ work to those outside the profession, according to ESCP President, Professor Derek Stewart.

ESCP – serving members’ needs

Clinical pharmacy practice varies very considerably from country to country and so trying to meet the different needs is a constant challenge for ESCP.  It’s “about how do we take best practice in terms of the actual practice, self-education and research and spread that – so we try and do that through our events, our webinars and reaching out to our members”, says Professor Stewart.  Two pieces of work in recent years have helped here. First, the Education Committee undertook a scoping project on clinical pharmacy education across Europe looking at undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing professional development levels. “That highlighted – and reinforced – the huge continuum from ….. very advanced practice to countries where there was really very, very little clinical pharmacy”, he says. Second, ESCP is working with national clinical pharmacy societies to provide support.  For example, a clinical pharmacy society has recently been established in Nepal and it has approached ESCP for help.

In another initiative ESCP looked into the research aspirations of its members. “We’ve translated that into a series of ‘how-to’ papers ….. ‘how to write an abstract, ‘how to write a paper’ ‘how to cite’, ‘how to increase your chance of getting research funding’. We’ve just published that as a paper in IJCP”, says Professor Stewart.

In addition, when planning event such as the annual symposium it is important to ensure that the programme caters for all levels of experience and interest, he notes.

The Oath to Society

A joint initiative by the ESCP and the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) has resulted in the development of the Oath to Society. This articulates, on one page, what and how pharmacists vow to serve society. “So, it’s about treating people equally, fairly, with respect, [having] high ethical standards of practice, but then some of the specific bits around what hospital pharmacists [and] clinical pharmacists in all settings would do around, maybe, evidence-based care and promoting safe, effective, cost-effective use of medicines, looking at disease management and things like that”, explains Professor Stewart.  The document has now been presented twice to the European Parliament in Brussels. It was presented to a multi-disciplinary audience and gained a lot of support from medicine, nursing, other allied health professions and patient groups, he says. Moreover, it has now been translated into every European language and some others including Chinese and Urdu, he adds. “It’s a really important document – really to highlight to people beyond pharmacy how we are serving society”, he concludes.

ESCP Symposium 2023

The ESCP annual symposium will be held this year in Aberdeen, Scotland 31st October -2nd November.  A Masterclass on ‘Making sense of Literature – how to choose and conduct the correct review for your research question?’ will be held the day before the symposium. This will include discussion of how artificial intelligence should properly be integrated into the process of literature review, notes Professor Stewart.

The symposium itself offers a busy programme of plenary sessions, workshops and oral communications. Some of the highlights will be:

  • A keynote address by Professor Allison Strath, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at the Scottish government
  • A plenary lecture by Claire Steele, President, Association of Pharmacy Technicians United Kingdom on ‘Collaborative working within the clinical pharmacy team’
  • A workshop on sustainable prescribing to reduce environmental pollution from medicines


About Derek Stewart

Derek Stewart PgCert, BSc (1st), MSc, PhD, FRPharmS, FFRPS is Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Practice, Qatar University. He is also visiting professor at Robert Gordon University in Scotland and at the Royal College of surgeons of Ireland. In addition, he is President of the European Society of clinical Pharmacy and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy.


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