Voted by readers as an Agenda Setter in pharmacy in equal tenth position, Chris Freeman is certainly a leader across many fields of the profession

Dr Chris Freeman currently juggles many roles including being a consultant practice pharmacist at Camp Hill Healthcare in Brisbane, a clinical senior lecturer at The University of Queensland, and of course National Vice President at the PSA.

Best known for his advocacy and research on pharmacists in general practice, Dr Freeman has been laying the ground for pharmacists to work in collaborative care models.

“My vision is to ensure that pharmacists are regarded are by the public, by government and by other health professionals as integral members of the healthcare team, rather than as a luxury,” he tells AJP.

“Whenever or wherever a medication is being considered or used, a pharmacist must be involved to ensure quality use of that medication.”

Dr Freeman is a huge advocate for pharmacists practising to their full scope of practice – an important concept that has been heralded by the PSA and the Pharmacy Guild in recent years – as well as collaborating with other healthcare professionals.

“Pharmacists need to be provided with the opportunities to meaningfully engage with the care of a patient and that we can do this by delivering care to our full scope of practice,” he says.

“I think if we are going to continue to have a major impact on the health of our communities, then we need to collaborate with our other health professional colleagues, as we can’t continue to do this in isolation from the rest of the healthcare team.

“The body of work that I’ve been focused on is further developing practice models and the evidence around that for pharmacists working in collaborative care models. I’ve tried to do that by leading by example, both within my own clinical practice but also through the research that I conduct.

“And I’m obviously best known in that regard around the role of pharmacists working collaboratively with GPs and other health professionals in the medical centre environment.”

In fact, Dr Freeman’s PhD dissertation completed in 2012 was about pharmacists as members of the multidisciplinary general practice team, and how this could become a new model of Australian pharmacy practice.

Working in the medical centre environment is a significant opportunity for pharmacists to extend how they are engaged in patient care, he says.

“I genuinely believe that this has the potential to be the third major career path for pharmacists, in combination with community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy practice,” says Dr Freeman.

“We need to be grabbing those opportunities that have the ability to positively impact on the health of patients with both hands … rather than continually being paralysed by the fear that this might produce an unintended consequence.”

However while developing collaboration models is what he is best known for, Dr Freeman is influential in many other areas of the profession as well.

Dr Chris Freeman

Dr Chris Freeman

For example, he has been doing some work with academic institutions around the role of community pharmacy in oral health care, which he says is a a “hugely underserviced area of care which is in high need”, as well as building the potential role for pharmacists in screening and referring people who are at high risk of glaucoma.

He has done research focused around deprescribing, reducing the amount of inappropriate medicine use, and exploring the role of pharmacists in pharmacogenomics.

Dr Freeman also devotes a lot of time and energy towards mentoring people including students, newly registered pharmacists, those who are interested different areas of practice, and those who are even further in their career.

“I take a lot of pride in seeing those people gain the most out of their professional lives,” he says.

“It’s a critical role that leaders in our profession need to start mentoring or guiding pharmacists around them so that they too can have these influential impacts on healthcare.

“While I’m obviously best known for the pharmacists in general practice component, I like to think I’m contributing to many other aspects of pharmacists’ practice in and outside of the community pharmacy and general practice spheres.”

What you said:

“For pushing the agenda for an expanded professional remit for primary care pharmacists in general medical practices, an innovative approach to enhanced collaborative practice.”

“He has pioneered a new career pathway for pharmacists in general practice.”

The Agenda Setters campaign asked AJP readers to vote for the pharmacists they feel are showing the way forward for the profession. We finished with a list of 13 winners as voted by you: see the full list here.

Click here to see the previous article in this series