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

What opportunities does the pharmaceutical industry offer? 

By Tarquin Bennett – Coles
Principle Consultant, Life Sciences EMEA & US at Carmichael Fisher

According to figures from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) the biopharmaceutical industry the number of pharmaceutical enterprises has been increasing since 2010.  According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), by 2015 the number of enterprises operating in the UK was 573 (manufacturer of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations). The number of employees in the UK working in the sector in 2016 was 63,000 with 24,000 dedicated to R&D. 

The scale of the sector means there are opportunities for new joiners at all levels covering lab based positions to externally focused sales positions and everything in between. Trained pharmacists and technicians will already have a knowledge of the pharmacology of drugs and in many cases will have dealt with questions from patients and the public that will give them insight into the benefits and challenges of developing new drugs, supply chain, compliance and convergence of digital health technology with the sector.   Read more What opportunities does the pharmaceutical industry offer? 

Social prescribing – linking patients with support

by Hemant Patel FRPharms, English Pharmacy Board member

Today is Social Prescribing Day. So, what is social prescribing?

Social prescribing enables GPs, pharmacists, nurses and other primary care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services via a link worker.

Social prescribing schemes can involve a variety of activities which are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations. Examples include volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports.

Link workers give people time and focus on what matters to the person, and as part of their care, connect people to community groups and agencies for practical and emotional support.  With the recent publication of the NHS Long Term Plan and personalised care being marked as a priority, the NHS has promised to support at least 900,000 people to benefit from social prescribing by 2023. Pharmacists have a role to play here. Read more Social prescribing – linking patients with support

Support the RPS Board candidate you believe in

As the guy who, (used to be), on the telly, I know what it feels like to put your head above the parapet.

I had to accept I wouldn’t get everything right, and that critique and criticism, (thanks mum) was part of the gig.

As people start to think about standing for election to the RPS National Pharmacy Board, it’s worth bearing in mind that we are talking about passionate pharmacists who want to make a positive difference to the profession.   Read more Support the RPS Board candidate you believe in

Women in early pharmacy

By Matthew Johnston, RPS Museum

“There is an impression that women are something new in pharmacy, but nothing could be further from the truth.”

These were Jean Kennedy Irvine’s words on her election as the first woman President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in 1947.

Medieval monasteries

In her speech, Jean also mentioned the early beginnings of community pharmacy in the medieval monasteries, where residents would grow medicinal plants to treat themselves and local people.

One of the oldest items on display in the RPS Museum is a stone mortar from a Spanish nunnery (AD 410-1500), used for preparing medicines. The Hanbury Collection of the RPS Library also contains a later copy of the ‘Physica’, a work by St Hildegard, Abbess of Bingen. Originally written in the 1100s, it outlines the medicinal properties of various drugs obtained from the natural world. Read more Women in early pharmacy

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

Social media – let’s make it a force for good.

Social media use is always under scrutiny.

Whether it’s the amount of screen time children should have or whether vloggers should be encouraging gambling, the public’s mood seems to be in favour of more regulation, accountability and transparency.

We are fast approaching RPS elections time! We want everyone to enjoy the experience of being part of the elections, whether as a candidate or as voter, so we will do our best to encourage friendly and professional discussion.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be ‘re-releasing’ our social media guidance in bite size chunks. We’ll be encouraging members standing for election to campaign via social media, online forums and blogs. We know this is a great way to reach and engage with voters. If you’re standing for election this year, we will send you specific guidance to help.

The best advice I’ve ever received about testing whether something is suitable to be shared on social media or not is: “If you wouldn’t say it in the ‘real world’, don’t say it in the ‘digital world’.

We love a robust but polite debate. Read more Social media – let’s make it a force for good.

I am what I am! LGBT History Month

By Mike Beaman, FRPharmS, retired pharmacist

I am writing this blog in support of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s response to LGBT History Month.  Although not a gay activist I have, nevertheless, been generally open about my lifestyle since coming to terms with being a gay man back in the early 1970s.

I was born in 1947 so I was 19 and a university undergraduate when the legislation decriminalising homosexuality became law in 1967. I was already a young adult and therefore having an intimate relationship with another man before that time would have been a criminal act and would also have resulted in my being sent down from university and unable to eventually register as a pharmacist. Read more I am what I am! LGBT History Month

Veterinary medicines – Use them or lose them?

By Rob Morris, FRPhamS, Chair of the RPS Veterinary Pharmacy Forum

In case you didn’t know, pharmacists are in a very privileged position when it comes to the supply of veterinary medicines in the UK. Unlike human medicines, the animal equivalents are regulated and licensed by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) – an executive agency sponsored by DEFRA.

Whilst the vast majority of vet medicines are handled by veterinary surgeons, animal health merchants and pet stores, the VMD still regards pharmacists a key supplier to both the farm and pet-owning public. Animal health merchant and pet store owners must ensure they have appropriately trained staff, or Suitably Qualified Persons (SQPs) and also operate from licensed premises which the VMD duly inspect and regulate – rather like our GPhC. The VMD are satisfied that pharmacists already have the appropriate professional knowledge, training and regulation so they do not interfere. Read more Veterinary medicines – Use them or lose them?

Biosimilar adalimumab is a test of shared decision making in the NHS

Co-written by the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society, RNIB, Birdshot Uveitis Society, Psoriasis Association and Crohn’s & Colitis UK

The entry of new biosimilars and the creation of an NHS ‘local market of treatment options’ will see significant numbers of patients switched from the originator product, Humira, to one of four biosimilar alternatives this year.

Adalimumab is one of several biological drugs used in the treatment of autoimmune inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, non-infectious posterior uveitis, Crohn’s and colitis.

While some patients will take this in their stride, for others the change will be met with feelings of apprehension. Read more Biosimilar adalimumab is a test of shared decision making in the NHS