The European Society for Clinical Pharmacy (ESCP) – developments and aspirations

Written by | 14 Aug 2023 | 'In Discussion With'

‘Innovations in Clinical Pharmacy Practice, Education and Research’ will be the topic of the forthcoming ESCP Symposium, to be held in Aberdeen, Scotland in Autumn 2023.  In this series of short videos, ESCP President, Derek Stewart, Professor of Clinical Pharmacy, University of Qatar, describes how the organisation has developed in recent years to keep pace with the needs of its members.

Why join the European Society for Clinical Pharmacy?

Membership of the ESCP is open to anyone with an interest in clinical pharmacy – including clinical pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, academics and students. “But also, we would welcome non-pharmacy professionals, patients – anyone who’s got an interest in really advancing clinical pharmacy”, says Professor Stewart. “It’s really important [to remember that] as a pharmacy team we deliver clinical pharmacy – it’s not just clinical pharmacists”, he emphasises.

The organisation offers a range of activities and benefits including:

  • Monthly webinars based on members’ needs
  • An annual two-day International Workshop on a therapeutic topic
  • An annual three-day International Symposium
  • Free access to the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and its sister journal, Drug and Therapy Perspectives
  • Special Interest Groups
  • Best Practice papers
  • ESCP research grants

How ESCP special interest groups forge worldwide links

ESCP has undertaken a number of key developments in recent years, including the introduction of regular webinars and a major overhaul of its special interest groups.

“Historically, we were known for our events, which are world-leading events, but we wanted to back that up with a lot more benefits and offerings for our members and not just be known for these two annual events”, says Professor Stewart.  This led to a number of initiatives – one of which was a re-appraisal of the special interest groups and the formation of new groups.  The first of these is a Deprescribing Special Interest Group. “We are partnering with some of the big, international deprescribing groups, particularly in Canada and Australia around that” he says. Other new groups include a mental health group and a young members’ group.

Building best practice in clinical pharmacy

ESCP recognises that the translation of academic evidence into day-to-day practice is an important step in the development of clinical pharmacy services – and ESCP Best Practice papers are designed to support this process.  Best practice papers do not follow the conventional format for research papers because they are intended to describe innovations in practice. Authors are expected to describe many of the practical details of implementation including the facilitators and barriers, how barriers were overcome and how the impact of the initiative was evaluated, Professor Stewart explains. So far at least 10 Best Practice papers have been published, he adds.

How the Oath to Society underpins clinical pharmacy practice

The Oath to Society, jointly developed by ESCP and EAHP, underpins clinical pharmacy services and highlights pharmacists’ work to those outside the profession. This articulates, on one page, what and how pharmacists vow to serve society, explains Professor Stewart. It has been presented to a multi-disciplinary audience at the European Parliament in Brussels – where it garnered considerable support from medicine, nursing, other allied health professions and patient groups, he says.

ESCP symposium 2023

The ESCP annual symposium will be held this year in Aberdeen, Scotland 31st October -2nd November.  It will offer 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.


Read and watch the full series on our website or on YouTube.

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