How pharmacists can help people with learning disabilities

by Robbie Turner, RPS Director for England

Pharmacy teams in community, primary care and acute hospital settings see many people with learning disabilities.

You may not have attached that label to an individual, but you know that you need to use easy words and short sentences for this person, or take longer to show them how to take their medicines. You will know the people who have complex repeat prescriptions – or you will recognise the family member or support worker who hurries in to collect their medicines.

Pharmacists and their teams need to consider how to best communicate with this diverse group and make what are known as ‘reasonable adjustments’ under the Equality Act 2010 to ensure equality of access to pharmacy services.

to help them feel confident in engaging with this diverse group and gives examples of reasonable adjustments. Read more How pharmacists can help people with learning disabilities

Pride 2017

By Robbie Turner, RPS Director for England

This weekend sees the Pride in London parade taking to the streets of the city with over 300 groups marching to fight for equality of the LGBTQ community.

Having watched the parade many times before I know that it is often seen as a celebration of what the LGBTQ community have achieved over the last five decades since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK. I certainly recognise this progress and as a gay man have always felt proud to be a member of a LGBTQ community which is in the main, welcoming, diverse and accepting of others.

But not every LGBTQ person has the positive experience I do and this can have a significant impact on their health. Research by METRO charity shows that 52% of young LGBT people reported self-harm either recently or in the past, compared to 25% of heterosexual non-trans young people. Also, 44% of young LGBT people have considered suicide compared to 26% of heterosexual non-trans people.

To say that 25 years after I came out, young people are still suffering high levels of abuse, discrimination and mental health issues is hugely upsetting. As a pharmacist, I know that there are always competing priorities on our time and resources. But, over this Pride in London weekend, I will be reflecting on what more I can do to help young LGBTQ people and how the Royal Pharmaceutical Society can support pharmacists to do the same.

Patient safety first

By Robbie Turner, RPS Director for England

The publication of the first report by the Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group is a welcome development which should be applauded.

Bringing together representatives of community pharmacies large and small they have demonstrated a real commitment to openness, transparency, and in learning from each other to improve the safety of the people they serve.

Transparency

The use of real life examples as part of the report has, unsurprisingly, led to a focus on the aspects that have gone wrong in the past rather than the work being done to prevent these happening again. This was always going to be a risk for the group but they took a decision that the real life examples helped to demonstrate why they have made some of the recommendations they have. I think this was a good and brave decision.

If we are to continue to improve the safety of services we provide as pharmacists it is essential that we are able to share our mistakes and discuss how we, as a profession, think they can be prevented from happening again.

The future

The work of the Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group is an important step towards a safer future for our patients and the public.

To really deliver a future where pharmacists and their teams can be open and transparent when they make honest mistakes we need to remove the fear of being automatically criminalised for reporting dispensing errors.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society believes that the move to decriminalise single dispensing errors is long overdue and is lobbying hard to ensure this is delivered as soon as possible by the government.

Joined up pharmacy IT and services – how do we get there?

by Stephen Goundrey-Smith, RPS Informatics Advisor

In today’s NHS, pharmacy teams are delivering an ever-widening range of services which make a real contribution to patient care. What’s more, pharmacy professionals are working in various settings – community and hospital pharmacies, but increasingly in GP surgeries, care homes and other places.

The potential for valuable service provision by pharmacy teams working across different care settings, means that the need for IT interoperability to enable integrated healthcare – and joined-up pharmacy services – has never been greater.

Good progress has been made with tactical solutions for community pharmacy access to prescribing records including the roll-out of the Summary Care Record to community pharmacists, and the use of hospital discharge e-Referral systems (PharmOutcomes and Refer to Pharmacy).

But how can the infrastructure for a fully-integrated health service be developed, to support comprehensive pharmacy services going forward? Read more Joined up pharmacy IT and services – how do we get there?

Using patient records to improve care

by Heidi Wright, Practice and Policy Lead, RPS England

Over 95% of community pharmacies in England now have access to the Summary Care Record (SCR) which is a real achievement.

Community pharmacists are using the record to provide better, safer patient care, particularly in areas such as emergency supply of medicines, queries around repeat medicines and supporting patients in care homes, especially when discharged from hospital. But access to the SCR is only the first step. Read more Using patient records to improve care

My cyber-attack week

By Sibby Buckle, RPS English Pharmacy Board

What a week this has been!  On Friday 12 May 2017, IT systems in 47 NHS trusts in England and 13 NHS organisations in Scotland came under attack from a global malicious software attack. Here’s the latest from NHS Digital.

I work in a community pharmacy in Nottingham and first became aware of a problem when the systems of local GP surgeries and hospitals went down.  Over the weekend in the face of the cyber attack, our pharmacy and countless others continued to do what we always do, delivering fantastic patient care, giving advice and dispensing patients medicines in a timely, safe and efficient manner.

Returning to work on the Monday morning, I was bombarded with messages from my dispensing colleagues. The surgeries had been on the phone first thing to confirm that their systems were still down, and even their faxes weren’t working. Read more My cyber-attack week

How working with a GP practice pharmacist helps me and improves patient care: a community view

Reena Patelby Reena Patel, Watmans Pharmacy, London

About me
I have worked in community pharmacy since qualifying in 2010, when I have since been a locum. More recently, I’ve worked in a pharmacy situated inside a GP Practice for the last three years. I am currently studying for a clinical diploma in order to enhance my clinical skills and enable me to provide a better service to my patients.

My top 3 tips to get the most out of a newly appointed GP Pharmacist: Read more How working with a GP practice pharmacist helps me and improves patient care: a community view

Top tips from a practice pharmacist on working with community colleagues

Yaksheeta Dave Photo 2by Yaksheeta Dave, GP practice pharmacist, London.

About me
I registered as a pharmacist in 2003 and my background has been a mixture of community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy and primary care. I started working as GP practice pharmacist prior to the NHS England pilot although the GP practice that I work in is currently part of the pilot.

I am the point of contact for local community pharmacies regarding any patient related or general queries that they may have. We have an on-site community pharmacy as well as approximately five community pharmacies locally that the majority of our patients use for pharmacy services.

My top 5 tips for a new GP pharmacist to make sure they get off to a great start with local community pharmacists: Read more Top tips from a practice pharmacist on working with community colleagues

Royal Pharmaceutical Society appoints new Chief Executive

cropped-RPS_primarystacked_RGB.jpgPharmacist Paul Bennett has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Paul will take up his post at the beginning of July 2017.

Paul joins the RPS from his position as Chief Officer of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Pharmaceutical Committee.  Prior to this, Paul was Professional Standards Director and Superintendent Pharmacist at Boots UK and brings a wealth of professional and commercial experience gained from both national and local pharmacy organisations alongside strong leadership credentials from business and from close working with NHS Commissioners of service and others. Read more Royal Pharmaceutical Society appoints new Chief Executive

RPS England responds to review of prescribing of certain products and medicines

Sandra Gidley 3by RPS England Chair Sandra Gidley

The NHS has traditionally provided treatment free at the point of use for both short term and life-long conditions.

Today, reporting shows this is being reconsidered.  This could be interpreted as an attack on this important principle.

Balanced against this view is the need for the NHS to be as cost effective as possible in a term of constrained resources. We understand the need for prioritisation. Read more RPS England responds to review of prescribing of certain products and medicines