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.

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How much is polypharmacy a necessary evil?

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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 It was clear from our review that this high minded perspective of polypharmacy was no longer valid.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’.

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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.

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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.

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New Year, new career! – How the RPS can fuel your ambitions

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As 2015 has drawn to a close and a new year begins, many pharmacists are considering where to take their career next. Career development is a continuous process occurring over the entirety of your working life, so whether you’re trying to improve your skills to advance your current position, or seeking to move into an entirely new role, we provide numerous tools for career development, enabling you to gain a solid footing and achieve your ambitions, whatever they may be. Read more New Year, new career! – How the RPS can fuel your ambitions

Defining the role for pharmacy within person-centred care for vulnerable groups

Claire Anderson copy[1]By Claire Anderson, Vice Chair of the English Pharmacy Board for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

The health and strength of a society can be measured by how well it cares for its most vulnerable members, older people, those with mental health conditions, those with learning disabilities and children and young people. There remain large inequalities in the care, including pharmaceutical care, of these groups.

The NHS Five Year Forward View calls for greater integration of health and social care services and for care to be delivered closer to people’s homes. Pharmacists, working in the heart of the community, are ideally placed to work with other members of the multidisciplinary team to care for vulnerable people at home and in care homes.

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GPhC Pre-registration assessment update

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The GPhC recently released their Pre-registration Autumn Bulletin for 2015, this contained a great deal of information regarding the recent changes to the assessment in 2016, much of it new. We’ve created a breakdown of the most important points and how they impact you, giving you plenty of time to prepare for the upcoming assessment in June. Read more GPhC Pre-registration assessment update

Facing the challenges ahead as a recently qualified pharmacist

Daniel 150After the thrill of passing the pre-registration exam had subsided somewhat and I joined the register as a pharmacist, it slowly began to dawn on me that despite all the BNF tagging in the previous months there was so much more to learn.  Not only is there a wealth of clinical knowledge to absorb and new skills to refine, but there is also far more I want to get out of professional development than I can achieve by merely documenting CPD entries.

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How can pharmacists and GPs work better together?

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Howard Duff, Director for England, Royal Pharmaceutical Society

The English Pharmacy Board of the RPS and National Association of Primary Care want to create a debate about how community pharmacy and general practice can work better together in the interest of patients. The RPS will be ensuring that royal colleges and patients have a say in this, but I also really want to hear the views of pharmacists. No doubt the organisations representing owners and contractors will be involved but what about the voice of those who actually do the work? Read more How can pharmacists and GPs work better together?