Mental Health – awareness counts, action matters.

by Sarah Steel MRPharmS, RPS Wales Policy and Practice Co-ordinator

Sarah Steel MRPharmS, Policy and Practice Coordinator

Over recent years, mental health has become something of a global conversation, a buzzword, a hashtag. Remove the stigma. Break the silence. Be open, talk, share.

Awareness is fantastic, conversation is progressive but how we act is what matters. An episode of mental illness is frightening, frustrating and isolating. As a pharmacist and a patient I have seen mental ill health from both sides and both are scary. People involved on both sides are often scared about the same things. What is ok to say? How do I act? How do I not make this worse? Awkwardness can be destructive.

Admitted to hospital, as a patient in crisis it was exhausting being asked again and again by different people what medication I was taking. No, I didn’t bring with me the third lot of meds that my doctor has prescribed that right now aren’t helping me feel better. I desperately wanted to get better, but I especially wanted and needed to be treated as a person, recognised as a person at a time when I felt so much less than that.

Read more Mental Health – awareness counts, action matters.

The Hanbury Botanical Garden: a pharmacist’s holiday destination in 1906

By Karen Horn, RPS Librarian

The Hanbury Botanical Garden is situated on the La Mortola promontory overlooking the Mediterranean. A glance at TripAdvisor  tells us that it is ‘spectacular,’ ‘a real gem,’ and ‘a beautiful, calm place with stunning views.’

What we are not told, though, is the garden’s connection to the Hanbury family and pharmacy.

Thomas, Daniel and the making of a garden

Daniel Hanbury was an enthusiastic traveller, taking every opportunity to further his research on materia medica. It was he who brought La Mortola to the attention of his brother, Thomas.  In March 1867, Thomas, a merchant in Shanghai, visited the area and found the ruined Palazzo Orengo with its neglected grounds and olive groves. Read more The Hanbury Botanical Garden: a pharmacist’s holiday destination in 1906

Drug-related deaths in Scotland 2017: How can pharmacy help?

Article by Fiona Raeburn, Immediate Past Chair, and Dr Carole Hunter, Current Chair, on behalf of the Scottish Specialist Pharmacists in Substance Misuse

This week the 2017 data for drug related deaths in Scotland was released.

The figures showed a further increase year on year.​ Sadly 934 people lost their lives. These deaths were preventable.

The Scottish Pharmacists in Substance Misuse group urge pharmacy staff across Scotland to think about the contact that they have with people who use drugs. Contact with community pharmacies in particular is often daily and presents opportunities to provide support, advice and encouragement as well as early warning signs that things are not going so well. Read more Drug-related deaths in Scotland 2017: How can pharmacy help?

Why should you attend the ‘Women in Leadership: Survive and Thrive’?

by Emma Davies, Advanced Pharmacist Practitioner and Research Fellow at Swansea University.

Women form the majority of the pharmacy workforce and yet, are still under-represented in senior roles across all sectors. This Women in Leadership event is looking to explore some of the issues faced by women working in healthcare and how we can work together to overcome them.

My contribution

I am looking to share my experience of workplace bullying and how I have tried to turn negative experiences into motivation to succeed. I am hoping that by being open about what I have faced, it will encourage people who may be going through a similar experience to know that it doesn’t have to continue or prevent them from realising their potential. I am looking forward to hearing from attendees about how they might have dealt with similar experiences and what I can learn from that to strengthen my future and those I support.  Read more Why should you attend the ‘Women in Leadership: Survive and Thrive’?

The Hanbury Memorial Medal – open to scientists of all nations

By Karen Horn, RPS Librarian

Daniel Hanbury, renowned British pharmacologist and botanist, died of typhoid fever on 24 March 1875.  He was 49 years old.  He is buried in Wandsworth, in the Society of Friends’ burial ground.

Shortly after Daniel Hanbury’s death, his friends and colleagues resolved to honour a life dedicated to science by awarding a medal in his memory –  for ‘high excellence in the prosecution or promotion of original research in the Natural History and Chemistry of Drugs.’ Read more The Hanbury Memorial Medal – open to scientists of all nations

It’s time to make the most of pharmacy in mental health

By Sandra Gidley, Chair of RPS England

People with a serious mental illness die 15-20 years earlier than on average.

They are three times as likely to lose all their teeth.

More than 16 million people in England are diagnosed with a long-term physical health condition, and more than five million of them will experience a mental health problem.

These are just some of the shocking figures that underline just how much further we have to go on the issue of mental health and the reason I was delighted to join with members, patient groups and the other health professions to mark the launch of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s new campaign on mental health in Parliament last week. Read more It’s time to make the most of pharmacy in mental health

Join the RPS team!

 By Gareth Kitson, RPS Professional Development and Engagement Lead

My role at the RPS is vast and varied, it is a challenging but exciting post that allows me to connect with pharmacists across England.  One aspect of my role is to provide support to our RPS Local groups (Local Practice Forums).  RPS Locals help members engage with the RPS in their local areas.  They aim to give members the opportunity to meet others face to face, provide peer support and networking opportunities (extremely valuable for the upcoming revalidation requirements) and offer professional support to pharmacists regardless of their career stage.  In what other setting can a pre-registration speak to a newly qualified pharmacist about life as a practicing pharmacist, who can also talk to a chief pharmacist about their career pathway?  If you are not involved in your local group thenI’d encourage you to take a look at our website and find a group that is local to you and start to engage!

Since starting in post, I have heard that people are very passionate about the RPS but many members would like us to shout louder about all the great work that we do.  We can do this through a variety of ways, such as the website, emails or social media, however nothing substitutes face to face discussions.  Enthusiasm is infectious and we want people who are enthusiastic about THEIR professional body to help demonstrate the benefits to others and showcase the variety of tools and materials we create to help support all pharmacists.  I, like my colleagues, do this every time we meet a pharmacist, be they a member or not, but I want us to be able to do this as frequently as possible in as many different settings as possible.

Therefore, we’ve put our thinking caps on and created a new role – The RPS Ambassador.  This will be a new way of trying to reach out and engage with members across England.  This role is very varied and will primarily be introduced in areas of England that are geographically large, or areas where engagement opportunities exist and the RPS voice needs to be heard more frequently than we are currently able to support.  The ambassador will be affiliated with the local area in which they either work or live, to ensure that they understand the needs of our local members.  They will work closely with their own existing networks and with any other networks in their areas, including our RPS Locals to promote the excellent work of the RPS.  We would love to invite applications from pharmacists from a variety of backgrounds to represent the true breadth and depth of the profession and would love someone who is comfortable using and engaging with members and non-members on social media.
The role we have in mind can be found here. If you are self-motivated, passionate about pharmacy and also, passionate about the RPS then this role could be for you.  It will be a voluntary role, but we will set aside £1000 each year to say thanks for all your hard work and dedication.

We will provide you with all the resource you need to be a success, including presentations, printed materials and resources to showcase our work.   If you are interested in this role, please send us a CV and tell us something about yourself and how you can help us spread our good work. This might be a blog, a short video, a more traditional covering letter or anything else you think might catch our eye. Be innovative and original and show us your passion for the RPS!

What you must know about sunscreen

by Colin Cable, RPS Assistant Chief Scientist

Summer is coming. But when the sun comes out do we all know how to protect ourselves from its damaging rays?

To try and get a feel for the public’s understanding of sun protection the Royal Pharmaceutical Society carried out a survey – and about the types of damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation, sunscreen labelling and how to use sunscreens effectively. Read more What you must know about sunscreen

Pharmacies can help in the battle to beat Hepatitis C

By Dr Suman Verma, co-chair of the London Joint Working Group of Substance Use and Hepatitis C and Hepatology Consultant at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

This month the London Joint Working Group on Substance Use and Hepatitis C published results of an innovative pilot project that offered point-of-contact hepatitis C testing to people who use needle exchange services in 8 community pharmacies across London. More than half of those tested (53%) had hepatitis C antibodies and were referred directly into specialist services via newly created referral pathways for further tests and for potentially life-saving treatment. Of those engaging with specialist services, 78% had detectable hepatitis C virus particles in their blood and 33% had advanced liver disease with cirrhosis.

Whilst the scale of this pilot is small, its implications are huge. Hepatitis C is a serious public health issue in London.  Public Health England estimate there are more than 40,000 people living with the virus and around half of these people are undiagnosed. Read more Pharmacies can help in the battle to beat Hepatitis C

Care homes: pharmacists and technicians working together

By Wasim Baqir, Medicines optimisation lead for care homes, NHS England

At NHS England I’m responsible for making sure the recently announced new roles in care homes – 180 for pharmacists and 60 for pharmacy technicians – get up and running and the necessary training is in place. But why work in a care home in the first place?

I’ve spent many years working in care homes in Northumbria. Pharmacists and technicians working together in care homes is a fantastic opportunity to drive up standards of safe, high quality care.  In addition, the job satisfaction is enormous.  You get a personal sense of achievement when you stop medicines which are unnecessary and harmful, when you stop waste that’s costly to the system, and work together across boundaries with your community, hospital and general practice colleagues to offer more to residents. Read more Care homes: pharmacists and technicians working together