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

What are the benefits of having a pharmacist in a care home?

By Sandra Gidley, Chair of RPS England

I’m delighted that NHS England, through the Pharmacy Integration Fund, have invested in creating 180 new jobs for pharmacists and 60 for technicians in care homes across the country.  There are huge benefits for residents in having a pharmacist involved in reviewing their medicines.

The average age of residents in care homes for the elderly is now 85 and they are prescribed an average of 7 or 8 medicines a day, though there are many are on more than that.  Those medicines can bring side-effects which in turn lead to loss of quality of life, so by rationalising those medicines, very often reducing the number taken, people feel better and the NHS saves money too.

Team work

Integration is a new buzzword which is the direction of travel for NHS delivery of health services. Pharmacists and technicians are a key part of the multidisciplinary team of GPs, nurses, geriatricians, and care home staff that look after residents. We need to all work together to provide residents with specialist clinical medication reviews to keep them from harm and keep them out of hospital. Here’s a great example of a care home pharmacist who is part of these reviews in the E & N Hertfordshire vanguard programme.

Residents’ relatives are also vital to such reviews and a very positive consequence is that their relationships with their loved ones often improve as a result of medication changes as the resident feels better and can be more communicative. The overall results in E&N Herts are astounding.  Since December 2015, their care home pharmacy team reviewed 1,426 residents and 13,786 medicines, stopped 2,238 unnecessary medicines including 681 with a falls risk, saved £354,498 in drug costs and an estimated £650,000 in hospital admission costs. They’ve also made a video about the way the vanguard programme was set up and the impact it had.

Challenging ourselves

By investing in pharmacists, commissioners are investing in their older, vulnerable populations and in better outcomes for patients.  By challenging ourselves to work in different ways and across traditional boundaries, we can grow as professionals, be part of a new way of working that enables us to demonstrate the benefits pharmacy can bring and deliver a better standard of care than ever before. It’s not always easy to do this, but it’s essential. Provision of services by pharmacists across settings is the game changer that NHS organisations are working towards.

Our Regional Liaison Pharmacists

RPS England has just appointed four Regional Liaison Pharmacists, who will be approaching local Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships amongst others to ensure they understand the contribution that pharmacists can make to the health needs of their local populations and so provide services that fit local needs. They will also discuss new integrated ways of working and ensure that pharmacists are part of this, including these new opportunities in care homes.

New jobs

I’ve received many requests for information about the new roles in care homes and these are still being worked on by NHS England.  I suggest keeping an eye on www.jobs.nhs.uk and of course the RPS will keep you up to date on developments.

 

Sharpen your influencing skills: learn the art of debate

Catriona Bradley from the Irish Institute of Pharmacy

Have you ever had to justify a professional decision? Did your influencing skills fall short? FIP has invited experts in the art of debating to consider an issue at the heart of the pharmacy profession – continuing professional development – and to help congress participants understand and acquire the skills needed to debate effectively.

“As pharmacists, it’s important that we’re able to look at any argument or any proposal about our profession from [different] viewpoints and to be able to set aside our own believes and values,” says Catriona Bradley, of the Irish Institute of Pharmacy, Ireland. Read more Sharpen your influencing skills: learn the art of debate

The important thing to remember is: VOTE!

by Chris Bonsell, Locum Pharmacist and RPS West Yorkshire Steering Group Member

Benjamin Franklin once mused ‘Nothing can be certain, except death and taxes’. If he was alive today he might have included: …and nothing can be certain in the outcome of this year’s English Pharmacy Board elections! This year we see 14 nominations for only four substantive vacancies to the EPB.

Pharmacy has been going through great change for many years and the way we work is very different now from 10 years ago or even 5 years ago. Pharmacists are now more clinically focused, working in new and emerging roles and are leaders within systems and organisations which at one time would have seemed unthinkable. We play a more pivotal role in patient-centred care, educating the public and in the prevention of disease.

Members of the EPB have a responsibility to be effective in their representation of all pharmacists across all sectors and to be vanguards of the profession. They should be inspirational not only to those who elected them but also to pharmacists throughout the country still to join the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Read more The important thing to remember is: VOTE!

Transforming outcomes: How pharmacy can play its part

Ahead of the 2018 FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Glasgow, Scotland, Harriet Pike speaks to some of the key players behind the congress programme to find out what’s in store.

Wherever you practise, patients’ needs are changing. Advances in science and technology mean that individualised treatments can offer better outcomes than a “one-size-fits-all” approach. But there are challenges: new technologies often come with a hefty price tag, adding to the huge financial pressures already faced by health systems; practitioners are increasingly expected to emerge from their professional silos to collaborate for the benefit of patients; and the health workforce is not always a predictable resource.

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) wants pharmacists to be part of the solution. “It is the responsibility of each of us to transform and advance the profession to improve the health of our patients and nations,” says Lars-Åke Söderlund, head of national customers and new businesses at Apoteket AB, Sweden, and a member of the 2018 World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences programme committee. Read more Transforming outcomes: How pharmacy can play its part