What is the concern about Atrial Fibrillation?

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By Sharon Gordon, Pharmacist Consultant Anticoagulation & Faculty Fellow of The Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia affecting 1-2% of the UK population. AF is affecting approximately 10% of the population over 75 years old and 18% of those over 85 years old. It is a predominant cause of stroke and a serious concern in in our aging population. Clinical outcomes in terms of increased disability are considerably worse for AF-associated stroke and mortality from stroke is doubled in patients with AF. Read more What is the concern about Atrial Fibrillation?

How to get an NIHR research fellowship

Mandy WanBy Mandy Wan, Lead Paediatric Clinical Trials Pharmacist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and HEE/ NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow

I was delighted to hear just before Christmas that I was successful with an NIHR fellowship application and want to encourage more pharmacists to apply for funding and to lead research.

I have been a paediatric clinical trials pharmacist for most of the past 10 years, so am lucky to already be closely engaged in research work and have an understanding of how research can really impact day to day practice.
I applied for NIHR funding 2 years ago but I wasn’t successful. This time, I decided to apply again with a different topic. My research question came from a common query that kept coming through to the pharmacy department; what dose of Vitamin D is appropriate in children? Read more How to get an NIHR research fellowship

The rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria

Dr Jacqueline Sneddon

Dr Jacqueline Sneddon MRPharmS FFRPS
Project Lead for Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group

Consider this scenario. Your younger child has been awake all night, crying with earache. They’re upset and tired, and so are you. Your older child had a flu bug last week, and you have already taken three days off work to look after them. You’ll take the little one to the doctor in the morning and get antibiotics to clear it up. You’ll probably have to pester the GP for them, but you’ll do it so your child feels better quickly and you can go back to work sooner.

In addition to being really worried about our little ones, as parents, we also have to cope with the guilt of being away from work for too long, and for many parents this is unpaid leave.
The sight of a poorly child is an upsetting one. The hope that antibiotics will reduce the time our children suffer with pain, sometimes means that exhausted and worried parents demand a prescription for antibiotics, even though the GP didn’t really think they were necessary. Read more The rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria

Stop the over medication of people with learning disabilities

david-banford(1)By David Branford, Chief Pharmacist, Derby Hospital


The nation was shocked by the Panorama expose of cruel behaviour to people with a learning disability living at Winterbourne View in Bristol. The subsequent enquiry not only raised many concerns about the care of people with a learning disability but also about the use of antipsychotics and antidepressants.

Subsequent investigations and actions took two paths. The first, a series of studies demonstrated widespread use of many categories of psychotropic drugs often in combinations. In addition there was widespread use of PRN psychotropic drugs. The second was NICE guidelines relating to aspects of treatment of people with a learning disability.
Stopping Over-medication of People with Learning Disabilities (STOMPLD) 2016 is a campaign launched by Alistair Burt today. It aims to improve the quality of life of people with a learning disability, by reducing the harm of inappropriate psychotropic drugs which are used as a “chemical restraint” in place of other more appropriate care and treatments. Read more Stop the over medication of people with learning disabilities

My Faculty Journey

JOnathan Burtonby Jonathan Burton

I guess I had several motivations for wanting to join the RPS Faculty. I liked the idea of gaining some recognition for being committed to my job, always trying to do things better and taking a real interest in my profession. I also thought it would be a useful process in terms of helping me identify my weak areas of practice, I’m a contractor as well as a patient facing pharmacist so I find it quite difficult to access peer review, I’ve always sort of made up my professional development as I’ve gone along! Read more My Faculty Journey

Become a dementia friend

dementiafriendsBy Thomas Banning, Locum Pharmacist, Brecon

Dementia is a growing problem in our ageing population. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, 25 million of the UK population have a close friend or family member with dementia.

Dementia Awareness Week gives us a chance to reflect on what we can do to support our friends, families, and colleagues with this condition. In my opinion, it is particularly important that pharmacists, like myself, and other health professionals, who come into daily contact with older people, understand what patients with dementia experience on a daily basis. Read more Become a dementia friend

Why asthma still kills

Anna MurphyBy Professor Anna Murphy, Consultant Respiratory Pharmacist

Every year approximately 1400 people die from asthma in the UK, more than the number of deaths from asthma in Austria, Finland, Sweden, Poland and Portugal combined.

 Approximately 5.6 million people live with asthma in UK. Asthma symptoms and exacerbations have shown to impact significantly on people’s quality of life and activities of daily living affecting sleep and the ability to go to work or school or exercise.  Those with more severe disease live with the uncertainty of unplanned emergency visits to their GPs or hospital and for some a fear of death. Read more Why asthma still kills

Prescription charges are causing medicines poverty

nealpatel2By Neal Patel, Head of Communications, RPS

The Government announced today that prescription charges in England will rise from £7.85 to £8.05 on 1st April.

Prescription charges have risen for 34 of the past 35 years.  Research consistently shows 1 in 3 people who work and have a long-term condition struggle to afford their medicines.  Many have to choose between paying for their medicine or household bills such as food and heating.  They face medicines poverty because they have a lifelong illness they don’t want.  How can this be fair?  And what can be done about it? Read more Prescription charges are causing medicines poverty

Current EU rules restrict access to new, potentially life-saving cancer treatments in children

IMG_0636by Jackie Turner, Macmillan Principal Pharmacist Oncology & Haematology

Around 1,600 children are diagnosed with cancer in the UK every year.

But is there enough paediatric research to allow more testing of potentially life-saving cancer drugs?  

Currently, the EU Regulations allow pharmaceutical companies to opt out of children’s trials if a new drug is intended for an adult cancer that does not occur in children.

What does this mean? Read more Current EU rules restrict access to new, potentially life-saving cancer treatments in children

Dispensing doctors and pharmacists working side-by-side

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy Aileen Bryson, Policy and Practice Lead, RPS Scotland

The viability of dispensing doctor practices and the threat of pharmacy applications has been all over the media recently and yesterday BBC Radio Scotland reported from Aberfoyle, interviewing the local practice and the prospective pharmacy owner. They then came to us for our views on the whole situation. It was interesting that one rather well know resident seemed to be of the opinion that a ‘real doctor ‘giving them their medicines was preferable to a ‘chemist ‘. Read more Dispensing doctors and pharmacists working side-by-side