I passed my pre-reg exam in June 2016 and registered as a pharmacist a couple of months later. During my MPharm I developed an interest in research and in particular during my pre-reg I identified the challenges some pharmacists face in continuing using their research skills. So, I thought I’d explore the Research field and soon booked a Research Advice Surgery. The session was really helpful and I immediately wished I could work with the R&E team! That’s when I came across the Research Admin vacancy and didn’t hesitate to apply. I’m very glad I did because it’s turned out to be a great opportunity!
I’ve been privileged to be able to work with the team developing a new resource: the Research Evidence & Evaluation Toolkit (REET). It’s currently on its Beta version but it already has a lot to offer. I’ve been having a play with it to test its functionality and I have already found a few research skills I need to work on! Basically, it’s an online platform with examples of research skills and activities; these are under various skillsets like ‘Research education and training’, ‘Communication and dissemination of research’ etc.
At the moment, the project has completed the Phase 1 Pilot and the team is processing the feedback from this in order to produce a more useful and operational REET, which will be tested in Phase 2 (coming up soon!). I’m actually really looking forward to the next phase as it will bring more functionality – and purpose – to the toolkit. The main addition is that the research skill, and activity examples, will have resources and conferences signposted to in order to allow the users to take action when they identify areas that they need to develop.
As a Foundation Pharmacist, I’ve found the REET useful because it introduced to me activities and skills that I hadn’t realised were research related. Plus, I was able to use this for my CPD and Foundation Cluster 3 (Research and Evaluation) portfolio entries. Due to the amount of data on REET, it has even more to offer for my (future) faculty journey.
So why don’t you have a go at it too? You might discover new research and evaluation skills! If you think this might be a good resource for you, drop the RPS R&E team an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, we would love to hear from you!
By Professor D.K Theo Raynor, Professor of Pharmacy Practice, University of Leeds
A new report published by the Academy of Medical Sciences says that medicine information leaflets are too scary with too much focus on the potential side-effects of medicines and not enough on their benefits. The report calls for them to be rewritten to give a more balanced view.
This is a comprehensive and thoughtful report looking at enhancing the use of scientific evidence to judge the potential benefits and harms of medicines. Of particular interests to those working in Pharmacy are the recommendations relating to patient information leaflets (PILs) – found in the pack of every medicine dispensed in the UK. The key recommendations relating to ‘Improving the content of PILs’ are:
• All parties to improve the comprehension and readability of patient information leaflets in line with the current legislation.
• This should ensure a balanced appraisal of the medicine’s potential benefits and risks is made accessible in these documents.
These recommendations echo the recent report for the European Commission on the ‘shortcomings’ of PILs produced by the Universities of Utrecht and Leeds.(1) Not mentioned in the Academy’s report is that for more than 10 years, manufacturers have had to ‘user test’ their PILs with lay people – so they are already ‘revised in consultation with patients and carers’. Despite this testing, further improvements are needed, with a more rigorous application of the user testing process, ensuring that it is iterative – with repeated testing and improvement until the required level of readability is reached. Read more Better information on patient information leaflets
Article by Maree Todd MSP, highlighting the issues of patients with hypertension as part of Hypertension Awareness Month and the important role pharmacists play in supporting them. Before becoming an MSP in 2016, Maree was a pharmacist at New Craigs Psychiatric Hospital in Inverness.
This week I held a member’s debate in the Scottish Parliament to mark world Hypertension month.
I was pleased to be able to highlight the condition as a pharmacist turned parliamentarian, particularly since I am co-convenor of the cross-party group on heart and stroke. I wanted to remind everyone that this condition can be diagnosed with a very simple test, and it’s easy to treat. Around 30% of adults in Scotland have high blood pressure. It’s very common indeed. So why do we need to raise awareness about it? Read more Hypertension Awareness Month: An opportunity to highlight the role of pharmacy
We chat to Dr Mahendra Patel FRPharmS, FHEA Fellow of NICE, Vice-Chair Accreditation Committee NICE 2017 and RPS English Pharmacy Board Member about the true value of NICE accreditation and what it means to our members.
“First of all, my heartiest and proudest congratulations to everyone at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), and most importantly to the staff involved in seeing this rigorous process to successful completion with diligence and commitment.
This is very prominently a noticeable mark of international recognition, and what I firmly believe to be gold standard accreditation for the RPS with its processes for developing professional guidance and standards.
This is without doubt a remarkable achievement for the RPS. To add further context, our process now sits proudly alongside highly credible and hugely respected organisations such as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) , the British National Formulary BNF) , various Royal Colleges (Physicians, Surgeons, Pathologists, Paediatrics & Child Health, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Anaesthetists), and with some of the world renowned giants in guidance production, the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN), the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), and of course NICE itself. These have all been successfully approved over the years.
As pharmacists we are all scientists, and through research we are able to develop the evidence and translate into practice. Through using trusted and reliable evidence-based guidelines, pharmacists can be well supported in their daily practice to help improve patient outcomes.
RPS members can now be assured of accessing reliable and trusted sources of guidance that have been developed using critically evaluated high quality processes through the RPS. This also means that as the RPS develop new standards, and revise and update existing standards, they will also be permitted to apply the NICE accreditation badge to those (as long as the NICE accredited process manual is followed).
I was pleased to introduce the NICE Accreditation Chair and Programme Director to the English Pharmacy Board Meeting back in 2014, and to highlight to the Board the importance of the RPS in seeking gold standard accreditation by NICE.
Today, I am absolutely delighted that the RPS is now badged with the NICE kite mark.
Finally, the Accreditation programme no longer accept new applications from organisations as of September 2016 but continue to review renewals. In that sense this has been a landmark journey for me both personally and professionally.
I have enjoyed a truly informative and inspiring relation with NICE as a long standing member of its Accreditation Advisory Committee since 2009 and later as its Vice-Chair.”
Read more about the NICE accreditation.
Today is World Health Day, which marks the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization. The theme of this year’s day is depression. We want to use this as an opportunity to highlight the important role that pharmacists can play in identifying and supporting people with depression. Today’s article has been written by community pharmacist Jonathan Burton and gives an insight into the ways a pharmacist can help tackle the stigma of depression.
By Jonathan Burton
I work in a community pharmacy which serves a large university student population. Depressive illness is one of the most common conditions I see in my day to day practice and there is much I can do as a pharmacist to help this young adult patient group. Read more How pharmacists can identify and support people with depression
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
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
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
The MHRA have today posted a consultation about the switch of sildenafil from a prescription only medicine to a pharmacy medicine, which means it must be sold under the supervision of a pharmacist.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society fully supports the application for sildenafil to move from prescription only (POM) to pharmacy medicine (P) status so it can be provided directly by pharmacists for erectile dysfunction (ED). Read more RPS supports availability of sildenafil in pharmacies