General Congress

77th FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Medicines and beyond! The soul of pharmacy
Seoul, Republic of Korea | 10-14 September 2017

The 2017 FIP congress in Seoul, South Korea, invites an international audience of pharmacy professionals and pharmaceutical scientists to go beyond medicines and answer patients’ demand for high quality help and advice.

At this year’s congress, the professional symposia will explore the many new ways that pharmacy professionals can add the value expected by modern healthcare systems and services. Sessions will show that tradition and dedication to patients’ health – the true soul of pharmacy – can be coupled with innovation in technology, education and practice to deliver care fit for the 21st century. Join us and meet pharmacists from over 100 countries. More information can be found here.

Discover new research and evaluation skills!

Marianna Liaskou, MRPharmS, Research Administrator, Research and Evaluation (R&E), Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS)

I passed my pre-reg exam in June 2016 and registered as a pharmacist a couple of months later. During my MPharm I developed an interest in research and in particular during my pre-reg I identified the challenges some pharmacists face in continuing using their research skills. So, I thought I’d explore the Research field and soon booked a Research Advice Surgery. The session was really helpful and I immediately wished I could work with the R&E team! That’s when I came across the Research Admin vacancy and didn’t hesitate to apply. I’m very glad I did because it’s turned out to be a great opportunity!

I’ve been privileged to be able to work with the team developing a new resource: the Research Evidence & Evaluation Toolkit (REET). It’s currently on its Beta version but it already has a lot to offer. I’ve been having a play with it to test its functionality and I have already found a few research skills I need to work on! Basically, it’s an online platform with examples of research skills and activities; these are under various skillsets like ‘Research education and training’, ‘Communication and dissemination of research’ etc.

At the moment, the project has completed the Phase 1 Pilot and the team is processing the feedback from this in order to produce a more useful and operational REET, which will be tested in Phase 2 (coming up soon!). I’m actually really looking forward to the next phase as it will bring more functionality – and purpose – to the toolkit. The main addition is that the research skill, and activity examples, will have resources and conferences signposted to in order to allow the users to take action when they identify areas that they need to develop.

As a Foundation Pharmacist, I’ve found the REET useful because it introduced to me activities and skills that I hadn’t realised were research related. Plus, I was able to use this for my CPD and Foundation Cluster 3 (Research and Evaluation) portfolio entries. Due to the amount of data on REET, it has even more to offer for my (future) faculty journey.

So why don’t you have a go at it too? You might discover new research and evaluation skills! If you think this might be a good resource for you, drop the RPS R&E team an email at practice.research@rpharms.com, we would love to hear from you!

Better information on patient information leaflets

By Professor D.K Theo Raynor, Professor of Pharmacy Practice, University of Leeds
A new report published by the Academy of Medical Sciences says that medicine information leaflets are too scary with too much focus on the potential side-effects of medicines and not enough on their benefits. The report calls for them to be rewritten to give a more balanced view.

This is a comprehensive and thoughtful report looking at enhancing the use of scientific evidence to judge the potential benefits and harms of medicines. Of particular interests to those working in Pharmacy are the recommendations relating to patient information leaflets (PILs) – found in the pack of every medicine dispensed in the UK. The key recommendations relating to ‘Improving the content of PILs’ are:

• All parties to improve the comprehension and readability of patient information leaflets in line with the current legislation.
• This should ensure a balanced appraisal of the medicine’s potential benefits and risks is made accessible in these documents.

These recommendations echo the recent report for the European Commission on the ‘shortcomings’ of PILs produced by the Universities of Utrecht and Leeds.(1) Not mentioned in the Academy’s report is that for more than 10 years, manufacturers have had to ‘user test’ their PILs with lay people – so they are already ‘revised in consultation with patients and carers’. Despite this testing, further improvements are needed, with a more rigorous application of the user testing process, ensuring that it is iterative – with repeated testing and improvement until the required level of readability is reached. Read more Better information on patient information leaflets

A medicine review is about stopping medicine as much as it is about prescribing

By Dr Mahendra Patel, English Pharmacy Board Member

The RPS has published a joint report with RCGP on polypharmacy “The challenge of polypharmacy: from rhetoric to reality”. The report is a practical guide for the delivery of improved care and increased safety of our patients.

Multimorbidity is perceived as an inevitable consequence of an ageing population, with increasing ‘polypharmacy’ necessary to prevent complications arising from long term conditions.  Patient conditions are often treated individually and they are prescribed medicines accordingly. However, medicines that were once prescribed may no longer be necessary as well as in some instances new medicines may not be required. Pharmacists have a key role in supporting patients to get the most out of their medicines and ensure that they are only taking the medicines that they actually need. Read more A medicine review is about stopping medicine as much as it is about prescribing

Choose Pharmacy

Jodie Williamson MRPharms
Jodie Williamson MRPharms

by Jodie Williamson MRPharmS, Pharmacist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society

In November 2015 the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Wales claimed that we need 400 more GPs in Wales by 2020 to avert a crisis in our NHS. We are frequently told about the crisis facing GPs. But did you know that many health problems can be resolved without the need for a GP appointment? Your local pharmacist is there to provide advice and support for a number of common complaints and in some cases, they can even provide treatment on prescription or free of charge.

There are a number of pharmacy services available across Wales. It’s worth Find your local pharmacy services, and using your pharmacy as your first point of contact for any non-emergency medical needs. Here’s a round-up of just some of the services on offer across Wales:

Choose Pharmacy

This service has been developed to help relieve pressure on GPs. It gives pharmacists access to a summary of a patient’s GP record, provided the patient gives their consent for them to view it. This improves patient safety and allows pharmacists to treat minor conditions through the Common Ailments Service (CAS). This allows you to see your pharmacist for a long list of common conditions, including hayfever and conjunctivitis, and you will receive advice and any necessary treatment free of charge. It is currently available in more than 220 pharmacies in Wales and the Welsh Government has made funding available to roll it out to all pharmacies in Wales by 2020.

Stop Smoking Services

All pharmacists are able to provide advice and support to those wishing to stop smoking, and in many pharmacies quitting aids such as nicotine patches, lozenges and chewing gum are available free of charge through the smoking cessation services available.

Triage and Treat

If you live in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion or Pembrokeshire, or are even visiting the area on holiday, you can access the triage and treat service. It is available in a number of pharmacies across the West Wales area, offering treatment for a range of low level injuries and potentially saving you a trip to A&E or the doctor. The list of injuries that they can treat includes:
• Minor cuts and wounds
• Sprains and strains
• Eye complaints e.g. sand in the eye
• Removal of items from the skin e.g. splinters or shell fragments
• Minor burns including sunburn.
You can get advice on managing the above injuries from any pharmacy, but this service enables pharmacists to offer additional onsite treatment.

Emergency Contraception

You don’t need to see your GP for emergency contraception (often referred to as the morning after pill). It is available to buy over the counter from most pharmacies, and many pharmacists are also registered to provide it free of charge following a short consultation to make sure it is appropriate for you to take. This will be done in a private consultation room and you don’t need to tell anyone else what you are there for – just ask for a private chat with the pharmacist.
At a time when the NHS is under enormous pressure, think about visiting your local pharmacist first – if they can’t help they will be able to refer you to the best person for your needs.

Research is everyone’s business

By Sonia Garner, Research Support Manager, RPS

Research is a young person’s game, an academic career pathway, something that doesn’t apply to me – to me, a middle-aged pharmacy professional with a background in community pharmacy support.  So it was with some trepidation that I found myself booked into the NHS Research and Development (R&D) Forum Conference in Manchester, May 15-16 2017: not only booked in as a delegate but with a poster presentation and an RPS stand to man.  So how did this come about?

Ten months ago I was appointed to cover a maternity leave position at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) as a Research Support Manager with responsibility for the Research Ready accreditation scheme for community pharmacy. Read more Research is everyone’s business