Winter Wellness

Jodie Williamson MRPharmS, Pharmacist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society
Jodie Williamson MRPharmS

by Jodie Williamson, Pharmacist and Professional Development and Engagement Lead at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales.

We often hear about the pressures facing the NHS during the winter months but did you know that there are steps that we can all take to stay well this Winter that can help to relieve this pressure?

Read more Winter Wellness

Mother was right!

“Wash your hands when you come in”, “Make sure you wash before dinner”, “Show me your hands” – just some of the echos of my childhood which I’m sure many of you recognise.
Ahead of World Antibiotic Awareness Week  and European Antibiotic Awareness Day  I spent much of my time at the RPS researching, collating and checking resources to support antimicrobial stewardship for the RPS AMS Portal.
I learnt a lot and guess what – our mothers were right!  One of the simplest ways to reduce the use of antimicrobials is hand washing (or hand hygiene as it is referred to in healthcare settings).  Not just to remove visible dirt but to remove bacteria and viruses which could cause infections such as upset stomachs, coughs, colds or pneumonia. Washing your hands properly should take 20 seconds, as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday to you” twice.
Simple you think – but wait – the RPS Handwashing essential guide states that 84% of British adults don’t wash their hands for long enough and 65% of people don’t always wash their hands before eating. The infographic below has other figures which make uncomfortable reading.

I mentioned these gruesome figures one evening at home and an unexpected consequence was that my daughter, who teaches a Year 2 class, was interested in using this information at school in some way.  I suggested having a look at the e-bug resource (another resource found during my AMS research) and together with the ‘handwashing and mouldy bread experiment’ (look it up on youtube!) she formulated a lesson plan.  The children loved it – and it became a feature of their end of term assembly.
So, what started as a literature review style research project on antimicrobial stewardship and resistance ended up as a theme for a school assembly.  It illustrates that antimicrobial stewardship belongs to us all – organisations, health professionals and all ages of members of the public.  Now, during World Antibiotic Awareness Week, take some time to have a look at the AMS Portal.  This is essentially a signposting resource linking to antimicrobial stewardship resources under six key categories: strategy, policy and guidance; clinical and technical guidance, initiatives and campaigns, training and educations resources, journals; and organisations.  The AMS Portal focuses on GB resources for pharmacists and pharmacy teams although we recognise the need to signpost to worldwide information and resources from outside GB are also included.
Have a browse – you might even find yourself influencing another school lesson or even humming ‘Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you………………….’!

Community pharmacists against common infections

Jonathan BurtonArticle by Jonathan Burton, Community pharmacist, Vice Chair of the Scottish Pharmacy Board

I work in a community pharmacy setting and as you might imagine I see many people through the day who present with various symptoms, wanting advice about their ailments and how to treat them. As winter closes in, these symptoms are for the most part those associated with seasonal coughs and colds, sore throats and ear ache. Read more Community pharmacists against common infections

Using patient records to improve care

by Heidi Wright, Practice and Policy Lead, RPS England

Over 95% of community pharmacies in England now have access to the Summary Care Record (SCR) which is a real achievement.

Community pharmacists are using the record to provide better, safer patient care, particularly in areas such as emergency supply of medicines, queries around repeat medicines and supporting patients in care homes, especially when discharged from hospital. But access to the SCR is only the first step. Read more Using patient records to improve care

Community Pharmacy Forward View

Sandra Gidley 3By Sandra Gidley, Chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board

You may know about the NHS Five Year Forward View, published in 2014, which outlined the future of the NHS in a world where people are living longer with complex health needs.

The Community Pharmacy Forward View, published today, aims to provide a sense of direction and vision for community pharmacy aligned with the ambitions of the NHS. Read more Community Pharmacy Forward View

Prescribing – Why every GP practice needs a pharmacist

By Neal Patel, Head of Corporate Communications

The General medical Council’s new report on prescribing published today, “Investigating the prevalence and causes of prescribing errors in general practice”, shows that while the vast majority of prescribing by GP’s  is safe and effective, around 1 in 20 prescriptions contain an error. The report makes recommendations of ways in which safety and quality of prescribing could be further improved.

The GMC have said that patients and doctors could also benefit from greater involvement ofrom pharmacists in supporting prescribing and monitoring. We would go further and have   a pharmacist working in the practice with GPs, dedicated to patient safety.

GP’s, like pharmacists, are busy people, the demands of modern healthcare provision mean that it’s almost impossible for any one person be on top of all current thinking around illness, treatment and prevention.

Collaboration is key, but often this can be difficult due to poor communication systems and IT. Read more Prescribing – Why every GP practice needs a pharmacist

Patient Safety Programme in Scotland

By Annamarie McGregor, Professional Support Pharmacist for the RPS in Scotland

As part of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s commitment to medicines safety, the Local Practice Forums in Scotland have each been looking at specific elements of the Scottish Patient Safety Programme (SPSP).  The discussion held at RPS on the 7th December linked in with the current work programme of the Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) and the implementation plans of their Strategic Plan in Secondary care. The ways in which this can be rolled out in Primary Care was a great incentive for all sectors of the Scottish pharmacy profession to come together and get involved in this debate. Read more Patient Safety Programme in Scotland