Pride 2017

By Robbie Turner, RPS Director for England

This weekend sees the Pride in London parade taking to the streets of the city with over 300 groups marching to fight for equality of the LGBTQ community.

Having watched the parade many times before I know that it is often seen as a celebration of what the LGBTQ community have achieved over the last five decades since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK. I certainly recognise this progress and as a gay man have always felt proud to be a member of a LGBTQ community which is in the main, welcoming, diverse and accepting of others.

But not every LGBTQ person has the positive experience I do and this can have a significant impact on their health. Research by METRO charity shows that 52% of young LGBT people reported self-harm either recently or in the past, compared to 25% of heterosexual non-trans young people. Also, 44% of young LGBT people have considered suicide compared to 26% of heterosexual non-trans people.

To say that 25 years after I came out, young people are still suffering high levels of abuse, discrimination and mental health issues is hugely upsetting. As a pharmacist, I know that there are always competing priorities on our time and resources. But, over this Pride in London weekend, I will be reflecting on what more I can do to help young LGBTQ people and how the Royal Pharmaceutical Society can support pharmacists to do the same.

How can pharmacists help address the needs of older drug users?

Dr Carole HunterArticle by Dr Carole Hunter, Lead Pharmacist, Addiction Services, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

The Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) was established in 1986 and aims to improve Scotland’s response to problem drug use. On 23 June it published a report on the challenges facing the increasing population of drug users. As a specialist pharmacist in substance misuse, this report made interesting reading for me and confirmed my view that pharmacists have an increasingly important role to play in addressing the multiple health issues of this emerging large and vulnerable group. Read more How can pharmacists help address the needs of older drug users?

Hypertension Awareness Month: An opportunity to highlight the role of pharmacy

Maree ToddArticle 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

How pharmacy can raise public awareness of health issues

by Tricia Armstrong

Community pharmacists have historically been the most accessible healthcare professionals and have successfully taken part in many public health campaigns, such as stop smoking services. In recent years the role of the pharmacist has become more diverse with pharmacists offering more services, such as flu vaccinations. Patients are looking for convenience and accessibility and pharmacists often meet these needs by providing services in the evenings and at weekends. In an article by Anderson and Thornley (2012), the authors discuss the reasons why patients, who are entitled to free NHS flu vaccinations, are prepared to pay for vaccinations because the service is more easily accessible in pharmacies. Read more How pharmacy can raise public awareness of health issues

Why NICE accreditation matters

 

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.

How pharmacists can identify and support people with depression

Jonathan Burton

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

Johnathan Laird: My first year on the RPS Scottish Pharmacy Board

Johnathan LairdJohnathan Laird is a member of the Scottish Pharmacy Board. One year ago, he was elected at the Board and today he is sharing his experience of being part of a team of great pharmacy professionals. Here is what Johnathan had to say in his own words…  

My relationship with the RPS has been rather patchy over the years. Like many, I cynically questioned the value of the organisation.

How naive I was. Yet another error in the course of my career.

Just over two years ago I made a decision to come out of my shell and get involved. This was the best decision of my career so far.

Read more Johnathan Laird: My first year on the RPS Scottish Pharmacy Board

The inspiring women of pharmacy

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International Women’s day celebrates the milestone achievements and the history of women, spreading awareness about their social, economic, cultural and political achievements, it also encourages a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

To mark this day, we chat to Hannah Batchelor, BSc, PhD, Director of Research for Pharmacy at the University of Birmingham about her current role, challenges and successes as a female in her profession and more importantly how to #BeBoldForChange. Read more The inspiring women of pharmacy

Life as a consultant cancer pharmacist

steve williamson

Pharmacy has an important role to play regarding new and existing cancer treatments, we chat to Consultant Cancer Pharmacist and Chair of British Oncology Pharmacy Association, Steve Williamson MRPharmS (IPresc), MSc who explains his area of work in more detail.

What was your first contact with pharmacy as a profession?

When I was 16 I visited my local Hospital where my mum worked as an ITU nurse and met the clinical pharmacist who worked on her unit, after talking to him I decided that I wanted to be a hospital pharmacist. Read more Life as a consultant cancer pharmacist

Help to stop antimicrobial resistance!

Dr Jacqueline Sneddonby Dr Jacqueline Sneddon, Project Lead for Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group, part of Healthcare Improvement Scotland

Dr Jacqueline Sneddon highlights opportunities for community pharmacy teams in Scotland to support European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) 2016 and contribute to the fight against antimicrobial resistance. Read more Help to stop antimicrobial resistance!