Facing the challenges ahead as a recently qualified pharmacist

Daniel 150After the thrill of passing the pre-registration exam had subsided somewhat and I joined the register as a pharmacist, it slowly began to dawn on me that despite all the BNF tagging in the previous months there was so much more to learn.  Not only is there a wealth of clinical knowledge to absorb and new skills to refine, but there is also far more I want to get out of professional development than I can achieve by merely documenting CPD entries.

Read more Facing the challenges ahead as a recently qualified pharmacist

How can pharmacists and GPs work better together?


Howard Duff, Director for England, Royal Pharmaceutical Society

The English Pharmacy Board of the RPS and National Association of Primary Care want to create a debate about how community pharmacy and general practice can work better together in the interest of patients. The RPS will be ensuring that royal colleges and patients have a say in this, but I also really want to hear the views of pharmacists. No doubt the organisations representing owners and contractors will be involved but what about the voice of those who actually do the work? Read more How can pharmacists and GPs work better together?

Prepare for your pre-reg assessment with these 10 steps

Daniel 150With the September pre-registration exam just around the corner we have put together a step by step guide to help you prepare for your assessment. Whether you are sitting the assessment for the first or second time, these 10 useful steps will help you prepare and stay focused on the day. Read more Prepare for your pre-reg assessment with these 10 steps

My Faculty Journey: a lifetime adventure

Eleanor receiving her Faculty Pin at the Scottish National Seminar in August.
Eleanor receiving her Faculty Pin at the Scottish National Seminar in August.

By Eleanor Eunson, MFRPSII MRPharmS, community pharmacist

One of the most exciting parts of being a community pharmacist is that you never really know what you’ll have to deal with next. As the first point of contact for the majority of the public for their health problems, we can be dealing with colds/flu or skin problems or an emergency – how many of us have had “heart attacks” or “epileptic fits” at the pharmacy counter? We truly see everything from minor to major. How we react, what we do next and how we build on these experiences is what makes us tick – that is what Faculty was designed for! Read more My Faculty Journey: a lifetime adventure

How can community pharmacy and general practice work better together?


By Howard Duff, Director for England, Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Both professions operate under nationally arranged contracts which seem to be looking to achieve two different outcomes. There are many good reasons why pharmacy has benefited from this national approach and we believe that some things must remain nationally organised. However the NHS is different place today than it was when the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework was introduced many years ago.

The Five Year Forward View (FYFV) presents both the case for change and a blueprint for its trajectory. It signposts the way forward and as a profession we must “go with the flow” and not “swim against the tide”. By that I mean that the FYFV describes ways that changes will be supported to happen in the NHS. These are locally driven and they are expected to be initiated and taken forward by local leaders. We need those local leaders in pharmacy to step up and make this change happen in a way that includes the role of pharmacists. I believe that this will both improve patient care and also help to make the NHS more efficient. If we are not alert to the local change agenda then I fear that pharmacy will be left behind.

The mechanisms for change that can include community pharmacy are the multispeciality community providers, primary and acute care systems and better care for patients in care homes. These have been well documented in the press and they provide plenty of scope for community pharmacy involvement. Ah yes but it’s hard, I can hear people saying, we tried to get involved but this was an issue or that was too problematic. Or we were described in the vanguard bid but it’s proving hard to get through the co-commissioning issues to get the service off the ground. I understand all of these things and I must praise those who have managed to overcome the barriers and put community pharmacy onto the FYFV map.

This is not right though is it? Neither is it good enough. We are the third largest healthcare profession, we manage over £8 billion worth of NHS investment in medicines and yet it seems unbelievably difficult for us to help out the struggling NHS and help provide excellent patient care. The RPS English Pharmacy Board wants to facilitate making the inclusion of pharmacist-led care through community pharmacy easier. We want to promote it to other professions, patients and importantly commissioners. We need your help and support to do this – so respond to our consultation and tell us how you think patient care can be improved.

You can take part in our consultation through the RPS website. Read the ‘improving patient care through better general practice and community pharmacy integration’ consultation document and respond with your comments using the consultation form.

Howard Duff, Director for England, The Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

Follow: @HowardDuff

Recently Qualified and Want to Locum? Read this first.

Daniel 150With the pre-registration year drawing to a close and many new names appearing on the register, newly qualified pharmacists such as myself are thinking about the next steps to take in our careers. After finishing the pre-registration year many pharmacists choose to become locums; this can be a great way to experience lots of different pharmacies, from small independents to large multiples. The locum lifestyle has many benefits, and for newly qualified pharmacists it is an ideal way to rapidly expand our ever important CV. Taking the initial plunge can be a little daunting, with so many things to consider, from choosing the right agency to preparing for your first shift it can be difficult knowing where to start; fortunately there is ample support available to help make this process far more straightforward. Read more Recently Qualified and Want to Locum? Read this first.

Why CMS is the future for community pharmacy


By Johnathan Laird, MRPharmS, Pharmacy Manager from Turriff, Aberdeenshire and Scottish Finalist in the I Love My Pharmacist competition. You can follow Johnathan at @JohnathanLaird.

In my view, the chronic medication service (CMS) is a necessary step towards securing a future role for pharmacists within the community pharmacy setting.

There are two sides to CMS. There is the repeat supply of medicine via serial prescriptions, and the clinical side of the service in which community pharmacists provide pharmaceutical care for the patient. Both have merit. However, neither side has reached its full potential yet. Read more Why CMS is the future for community pharmacy