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

Robbery by means of chloroform

By Karen Horn, RPS Librarian and Matthew Johnston, RPS Museum

chloroform-bottleOver 200 people visited the Society over London Open House weekend this year.

They all took a look at the RPS Museum and its varied collection, which includes chloroform bottles from the 1940s.

There are lots of stories about the misuse of chloroform which persist up to the present day, some of which are pretty far-fetched. Read more Robbery by means of chloroform

Community Innovators – Jay Badenhorst

Jay 150Part of our series on Inspirational Community Innovators

Jay Badenhorst is a community pharmacist that started his career in South Africa. He moved to the UK in 2001 and soon after that decided to stay permanently. He is passionate about pharmacy and the potential that community pharmacy can play in the health and wellbeing of patients.

He once said “In order to be a great leader you don’t need an official title. Whether you’re a pharmacy manager, assistant or technician, you can achieve great things.” He believes that it takes a multifaceted approach to ensuring patients’ best interests are always kept at heart in community pharmacy. Every team members brings a valuable contribution to ensuring every contact counts. He believes it is up to employers to ensure that the professional development of all team members in the pharmacy is ongoing, including investing time into the development of newly qualified pharmacists. Read more Community Innovators – Jay Badenhorst

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

Polypharmacy – even the word has a negative connotation

Nina Barnett

Professor Nina Barnett, Consultant Pharmacist for Older People, Medicines Use and Safety Team, NHS Specialist Pharmacy Service

As clinicians we think of polypharmacy as patients being prescribed too many medicines, some of which are at best redundant and at worst cause patient harm. It is easy for us to take a clinician-centred, negative view of the prescribing of multiple medicines because of our awareness of the risks associated with polypharmacy, but I want challenge this thinking and reframe our view of polypharmacy, so we think about it from a patient perspective.

Read more Polypharmacy – even the word has a negative connotation

Explaining the new cannabis bill

charles blogBy Charles Willis, Head of Public Affairs for RPS

You may have noticed over the past few weeks that the Liberal Democrats are returning to an issue close to many of their hearts; reforming the drug laws. This week in Parliament, Norman Lamb brought a 10 minute rule bill seeking to legalise and regulate cannabis in the UK. But how did we get here?

Going into the 2015 General Election, Nick Clegg committed the Party to decriminalisation for possession of drugs for personal use, and Norman Lamb made drug reform part of his Party leadership bid. However, the key precursor to this Bill was set at the recent Lib Dem Spring Conference, where the members debated a motion that would for the first time commit the Party to full legalisation and regulation.

Read more Explaining the new cannabis bill

How much is polypharmacy a necessary evil?

MartinDuerden

By Dr Martin Duerden, a GP in North Wales and Clinical Senior Lecturer at Bangor University

A few years ago, I and some GP colleagues – Tony Avery from Nottingham University, and Rupert Payne from Cambridge University – were asked to do a review of polypharmacy by the King’s Fund. Polypharmacy had always been looked on disparagingly through my training in medicine and my subsequent work as a GP. It was clear from our review that this high minded perspective of polypharmacy was no longer valid.

Polypharmacy has become common place and the stark evidence is that we now have three times more people taking ten-or-more drugs than was the case in the late 1990s. The reasons for this are complex; many more people take preventative drugs for things like high blood pressure and lipid-lowering; we have a plethora of guidelines urging us to use treatments; and there are an increasing number of drugs available. Perhaps the biggest issue now and in the future is the shear number of people in middle age who are getting older and frailer and carrying many diseases into old age – the so-called ‘multimorbidity challenge’.

Read more How much is polypharmacy a necessary evil?

People with dementia in care homes need pharmacist-led medicine reviews

Laurance Thraves Alzheimers Societyby Laurence Thraves, Senior Policy Officer, Alzheimer’s Society

70 per cent of people with dementia have one or more other long-term health condition. As GPs and other medical professional try to treat these conditions, people with dementia can end up on a cocktail of drugs that exacerbate their symptoms. Using their specialist skills, pharmacists can play a vital role in improving how medicines are used in care homes and, as a result, the quality of life for the 280,000 people with dementia living there. Read more People with dementia in care homes need pharmacist-led medicine reviews

Reducing inappropriate prescribing of psychotropic medicines in the learning disability population

Steve Buckley 2Steve Buckley, Senior Clinical Pharmacist, Older Adult Services, Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

In July of last year, I started a new post with Greater Manchester West Mental Health Foundation NHS Trust. The post is part funded by Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group. At around this time, NHS England launched a ‘Call to action’ regarding the inappropriate use of psychotropic medicines for challenging behaviour in people with learning disabilities. So – this instantly became my first project for the CCG.

Read more Reducing inappropriate prescribing of psychotropic medicines in the learning disability population

Adopting a person centred approach to dementia care

AnneChildBy Anne Child, a pharmacist who is Director of Pharmacy and Dementia Care Medicines and Prescribing Centre Associate at NICE

Adopting a person centred approach to dementia care is a never-ending process and it is a professional journey I am deeply committed to as a pharmacist.

It requires a strong commitment from health professionals as individuals, and within the wider teams in which we work. It also requires commitment from the top down within organisations, both in health and social care. Individuals and their families, striving to live well with dementia, need this from us as a matter of urgency.

Read more Adopting a person centred approach to dementia care