Ensuring the safe use of medication is one of the key activities of clinical and hospital pharmacists. However, many people don’t know that both professions carry out many more activities to ensure optimal treatment outcomes for patients. The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) and the European Society of Clinical Pharmacy (ESCP) have collaboratively developed the “Oath to Society” that acts as a contract for excellence in providing compassionate patient care, working as part of the healthcare team and advancing the pharmacy profession, and showcasing how clinical and hospital pharmacists work every day.
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. Reflecting on their creation before the launch event, ESCP President Derek Stewart highlighted that “The development of the Oath to Society for European clinical and hospital pharmacists was inspired by similar initiatives of pharmacists and our fellow healthcare professionals around the globe. The Oath to Society emphasizes respect for patient privacy, the key contributions that our profession makes and the need for clinical and hospital pharmacists to uphold the highest standards of ethics for both themselves and their colleagues.”
The launch event brought together key stakeholders that are engaging closely with clinical and hospital pharmacists. Member of the European Parliament, István Ujhelyi, highlighted in his keynote speech the challenges faced by healthcare systems across Europe and the important role that pharmacists and their teams are playing. The panellists Sibylle Reichert (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 the Oath to Society is important to their individual organisations and patients. Equal and affordable access to medicines, patient-centred care and cooperation were amongst the themes that the panellists noted during their debate.
In his intervention during the launch event, EAHP President András Süle underlined that “It is important to communicate closely with patients, their carers and our fellow healthcare professionals, such as physicians, nurses and pharmacy technicians, to offer the best possible treatment. As the healthcare system shifts towards efficiency while still ensuring a high degree of safety and quality, pharmacists – as valued members of the interprofessional healthcare team – can and should play an integral role, focusing on medication management, medication reconciliation, preventive care and patient education.”
Stephane Steurbaut, Board member and Secretary of ESCP, echoed in his contribution very similar words while at the same time stressing that “Clinical and hospital pharmacists must not only ensure that prescriptions are appropriate, safe, and effective, but to also provide patients with guidance, reassurance, and compassion. With the Oath to Society, we hope to inspire both future and current pharmacists that all care, respect, and work toward change and preparation for the future of our profession.”