What’s it like to be a guest at a meeting of the Welsh Pharmacy Board?

At our recent Welsh Pharmacy Board meeting, RPS members Nia Sainsbury, Medicines Information Pharmacist from Bridgend, and Boots Pharmacist Simon Taylor, came along to observe the open business proceedings.
We caught up quickly with them to see what they’d made of the experience.

Nia Sainsbury and Simon Taylor
Nia Sainsbury and Simon Taylor

Can you tell us why you decided to come along to the Welsh Pharmacy Board meeting today?

NIA – What motivated me and engaged me to come today is having been involved with the palliative and end of life care policy. So that made me think about what other things are RPS Wales engaged with at the moment. Coming here today I’ve seen that it’s lots of different issues that are being looked at, and how RPS Wales can lead on those issues, like the really interesting presentation we had on advanced therapies.

What have been your main takeaway messages from attending today?

SIMON – I think the enormity of the scale they (the WPB) have to consider each issue with. It’s like they’re looking into the future, how far they have to consider the impact of the decisions they’re making will have. So you don’t appreciate that from the outside always, seeing how much they have to consider, how many different roles there are in there. The other things that people do there, not necessarily in terms of different agendas, but actually there is a lot of representation from different bodies in there.

What would you say are the benefits of pharmacists being able to attend board meetings?

NIA – I very strongly believe that all pharmacists should be members of the RPS, and open board meetings are one of the many things we can do to engage all pharmacists and show them the benefits of membership. When you see the policies, the Palliative Care Policy for instance, being brought out and actually the changes that creates, it’s really useful.

What’s been your overall impression of the Welsh Pharmacy Board?

SIMON – The impact of decisions that are made there have quite wide-reaching effects, so taking everything into consideration from the pharmacy point of view, the health point of view, the public point of view, everyone’s kind of representing that, giving a nice rounded opinion in that decision making process. In terms of the decision-making process, it’s clear they’re not going to miss things.

Would you recommend attending board meetings to other RPS members?

NIA – Yes absolutely!

SIMON – I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, there were only 3 guest observers there which was a little bit daunting at first, but perhaps there can be more (members attending) added to that in future. Coming in as an observer as well, we were given an opportunity to get our opinions across, which I think is really important, from whatever place we’re representing, whether hospital, community or education. That’s important I think, to put that opportunity out there so members can contribute.

The next meeting of the Welsh Pharmacy Board will take place in September. If you’d like to attend, just drop us an email at Wales@rpharms.com to reserve your place.

The Future Looks Bright for Pharmacy!

by Jodie Williamson, Pharmacist and Professional Development and Engagement Lead at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales.

Jodie Williamson MRPharmS, Pharmacist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society
Jodie Williamson MRPharmS, Pharmacist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society

As a pharmacist working for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, I have the privilege of meeting the bright young leaders of the future. I have just returned from the annual conference of the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA) in Nottingham and was blown away by their enthusiasm for pharmacy and their ideas for the future.

Read more The Future Looks Bright for Pharmacy!

Time to Influence

by Ross Gregory, Head of External Relations, Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales

Ross Gregory, Head of External Relations, RPS Wales
Ross Gregory, Head of External Relations, RPS Wales

Time to Influence 

Throughout the year, RPS speaks on behalf of its members in Wales at the highest strategic levels. We do this with pride and professionalism to influence the change we want to see in health care. Most importantly, we can help improve patient outcomes through the interventions of pharmacists.   

While the issues vary considerably, one variable remains a constant: influencing change takes time. The recent publication of a National Assembly report into dependency on prescription drugs reminded us of this very fact.   Read more Time to Influence

Minding the Gap – Improving care for young people in Wales

by Ross Gregory, Head of External Relations, Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales

Ross Gregory, Head of External Relations, RPS Wales
Ross Gregory, Head of External Relations, RPS Wales

Minding the Gap

 

Meeting the needs of young people as they transition from child to adult services has long been a challenging issue. Pharmacists, paediatricians, psychiatrists, GPs and a whole host of other health and social care professionals are involved in these arrangements. Yet, despite the commitment and hard work of individual professionals, transition remains an area where sadly, many young people are let down by the system and where, more critically, their health and wellbeing can be compromised.

Understanding where the gaps are in the system and how they can be overcome is vitally important to provide children and young people with the safe and effective care they deserve.

 

Taking action in Wales

 

This issue is attracting attention in Wales as the Children’s Commissioner for Wales continues to push for the rights of children and Young people.

The Commissioner has recognised that pharmacists have an important role in transition arrangements, particularly for young people with multi-morbidities and complex conditions.  It was a pleasure therefore to be invited to join the Children’s Commissioner, colleagues from other royal colleges and Welsh Government officials last week to look at the issues in more detail with a view to improving the current state of play in Wales.

Read more Minding the Gap – Improving care for young people in Wales

How pharmacy shaped the fizzy drinks industry

Jodie Williamson MRPharmS, Pharmacist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society
Jodie Williamson MRPharmS

by Jodie Williamson, Pharmacist and Professional Development and Engagement Lead at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales.

I’m sure many of us have enjoyed the occasional fizzy drink over the Christmas period, but did you know that pharmacy was instrumental in developing this industry? 

 

Soda – the fountain of health? 

During the late 19th Century soda fountains were a common feature of chemists’ shops across America. Pharmacists would create syrups, often with medicinal properties, and mix them with soda from the fountain. In 1876 Philadelphia pharmacist Charles Hires created his blend of root beer, Hires’ Root Beer, which claimed to give “New Life to the Old Folks, Pleasure to the Parents and Health to the Children”. Read more How pharmacy shaped the fizzy drinks industry

Outside the comfort zone – getting involved in politics as an RPS member

by Elin Gwyn MRPharmS, Palliative Care Pharmacist, Betsi Cadwalladr Health Board

The latest meeting of the Welsh Assembly’s Cross Party Group on Hospice and Palliative Care was recently held at on Friday 23rd November. Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales asked me to attend the meeting on its behalf. With RPS having just recently launched its policy on palliative and end of life care, its engagement and membership of this group is very timely.

The purpose of cross party groups is to bring together groups and organizations with expertise in a particular policy area with Assembly members who are interested in the same area. The cross party groups don’t have power, but they are used to raise Assembly members’ awareness of issues related to the field so that they can scrutinise and challenge the government and the NHS more effectively.

Read more Outside the comfort zone – getting involved in politics as an RPS member

Winter Wellness

Jodie Williamson MRPharmS, Pharmacist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society
Jodie Williamson MRPharmS

by Jodie Williamson, Pharmacist and Professional Development and Engagement Lead at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales.

We often hear about the pressures facing the NHS during the winter months but did you know that there are steps that we can all take to stay well this Winter that can help to relieve this pressure?

Read more Winter Wellness

Pharmacy in prison – uniquely challenging, uniquely rewarding

Tom Cox MRPharmS, Community Pharmacist and RPS Welsh Pharmacy Board member
Tom Cox MRPharmS, Lead Prison Pharmacist, North Wales

by Tom Cox MRPharmS, Lead Prison Pharmacist.

Medicines optimisation in prison – the challenge

It’s long been recognised within prison populations that there’s a high prevalence of substance use disorder in connection with prescription medicines. This is often found alongside problematic polypharmacy situations.[i] My main objective as a Lead Prison Pharmacist is to optimise medicines and resolve problematic polypharmacy, to try and rehabilitate people held in custody.

Medicines optimisation within a prison takes many forms, just as it does in other areas of health care. It starts with comprehensive medicines reconciliation when people arrive at the prison. Compared with the general population, people in custody have often lived chaotic lifestyles, either on the outside of prison, or perhaps in other prisons, so the first step is to understand what they have been taking, and how they have or have not been managing their medicines.

A particular problem we encounter during medicines reconciliation is that when a person arrives in prison, they often have other people’s prescription medicines in their possession, as well as their own. This forms important evidence for any resulting medicines optimisation.

Read more Pharmacy in prison – uniquely challenging, uniquely rewarding

A good life to the very end…

Chief Pharmacist and Clinical Director of Pharmacy and Medicines management for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
Darell Baker, Chief Pharmacist and Clinical Director of Pharmacy and Medicines management for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

by Darrell Baker FFRPS, Chief Pharmacist and Clinical Director of Pharmacy and Medicines management for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

A good life to the very end…

For human beings, life is meaningful because it is a story, and in stories endings matter
(Atul Gawande)

Quality palliative and end of life care is important and medicines can have a key role to play in facilitating that quality of care for many of our patients. On behalf of the Chief Pharmacists in NHS Wales, I am pleased to have supported the development of the RPS Wales policy document and to endorse its key recommendations.

 

Focusing on the individual

Understanding what quality end of life care looks (and feels) like for an individual is an important starting point. Pharmacy staff need to work as integrated members of the multi-professional team around the patient, with access to clinical information about the patient. This way, we are able to respect their wishes and support effective implementation of treatment and symptom management plans, regardless of location.

Read more A good life to the very end…

Palliative and End of Life Care – why getting it right is so important

Dr. Idris Baker, National Clinical Lead for Palliative and End of Life Care in Wales
Dr. Idris Baker, National Clinical Lead for Palliative and End of Life Care in Wales

by Dr. Idris Baker, National Clinical Lead for Palliative and End of Life Care in Wales

Are you serious?

 

“Are you serious about this? Who do you think you are?” the out of hours coordinator asked me. “Sending a man like this home? Asking for morphine for him to go with? A man like this needs to be in hospital.”

The problem was that Bill – he wasn’t “a man like this”, he was this man– didn’t want to be in hospital. He was in A&E, and he was screaming, and he could only tell me two things: he wanted painkillers, and he wanted to go home. He only had these two wishes and he hoped I could grant him both.

 

Bill’s story

 

His family filled in some blanks. Bill had advanced pancreatic cancer, his chemotherapy hadn’t worked, and he knew – they all knew – that he was dying. No one had given him any decent painkillers. It had got so bad that they had to bring him to hospital. We had old hospital notes and it all checked out, so there was nothing suspicious about the story. Bill was dying, in pain, and scared. I was scared too, a new young casualty officer facing a long bank holiday weekend, and I didn’t know much but even I could grasp a bit about Bill’s situation.

Read more Palliative and End of Life Care – why getting it right is so important