Integrative medicine approach to treating cancer patients

By Louisa Davies, Senior Clinical Oncology Pharmacist at University College of London Hospital

I love my job! I’ve been a qualified clinical pharmacist for 12 years and am very fortunate to work at the wonderful Macmillan Cancer Centre at University College Hospital in London as a specialist oncology pharmacist. I find it immensely rewarding as every day is an opportunity to support someone along their cancer journey.

I have a personal interest in wellness and the growing use of supplements for health and over the past few years I have seen more and more patients adopting an integrative approach to their cancer care. At UCLH we recorded that around 35% of patients we saw in clinic were taking or wanted to start taking supplements to improve their side effects or boost their immunity whilst on anti cancer therapy. Read more Integrative medicine approach to treating cancer patients

Why is handwashing important?

By Professor Ash Soni, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Every day we carry millions of bacteria, some of which are naturally found on our bodies and some of which are germs that can make us ill or infect others.

Every day we have contact with people who don’t always wash their hands after going to the toilet, or preparing food.

Our survey on handwashing shows 84% of British adults don’t wash their hands for long enough to clean them of bacteria which can cause infections such as upset stomachs or pneumonia, or viruses which can cause colds and flu.

Regular handwashing with soap and water is the single best way to protect yourself and others from infections. The recommended time to spend washing your hands is 20 seconds, as long as it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday to you’ twice. Read more Why is handwashing important?

Creating a profession where you feel comfortable to be yourselves

by Robbie Turner, RPS Director for England

Recently I wrote a blog about  LGBTQ Pride celebrations describing how upset I was that LGBTQ young people were still suffering high levels of abuse, discrimination and mental health issues as a result of their identity. I promised to reflect on what more the RPS could do to support pharmacists to help young LGBTQ people and we are exploring how our future RPS campaigns can deliver this. Read more Creating a profession where you feel comfortable to be yourselves

What do pharmacists need to know about heartburn?

By Dr Pulak Sahay, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Senior Lecturer of Medicine, Leeds University

What is reflux?

It is estimated that there are over 10 million adults in the UK who suffer from heartburn (sometimes known as reflux disease or Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD)).  If left untreated or poorly controlled, this can cause considerable discomfort and lead to a poor quality of life. In extreme situations, untreated heartburn can cause a host of both gastrointestinal (GI) and non-GI complications, including severe complications such as Oesophageal Adenocarcinoma (OA) – known as Oesophageal Cancer. Read more What do pharmacists need to know about heartburn?

Pharmacy’s future is digital

By Sibby Buckle, Chair of the RPS Digital Forum

 

What is the RPS Pharmacy Digital Forum?

It’s where the profession comes together to forge the future.  We are an enthusiastic and committed group of 30+ members who agree that digital literacy across the profession needs urgent attention.

With representation from across the UK, and from all sectors of pharmacy – community, primary care and hospital, PMR suppliers, NHS Digital, DH, PSNC, PRSB, and NHS Improvement –  there is a real appetite to create the change needed to enable pharmacy to be truly integrated into the NHS and healthcare. Read more Pharmacy’s future is digital

Strengthening Pharmacy in Scotland

Rose Marie ParrArticle by Rose Marie Parr, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Scottish Government

On 21 August 2017, I launched the new pharmacy strategy for Scotland: Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical Care which sets out the priorities, commitments and actions for improving and integrating pharmacy services in Scotland.

During the launch I had the pleasure of visiting both a community pharmacy and a GP practice in Port Glasgow to meet health and social care practitioners to talk about the way pharmacy services are adapting and enhancing care in the NHS. Read more Strengthening Pharmacy in Scotland

My week at RPS

Roshnee Patel, MPharms Student at King’s College London

What’s happening behind the scenes? As a pharmacy student it is very difficult to understand and know what is being done for us outside the four walls of our university. My week at RPS demonstrated to me how much support there is available after we graduate but also during our studies. Fortunately, I was able to spend some time within the marketing team and I got to see it all.

From just about knowing how to use Google calendar to now being able to structure, format and schedule social media posts, my time at RPS has enabled me to develop a wide range of my skill sets. In the RPS, opportunities are always knocking on your door. I was given the opportunity to write an email to students in Birmingham. Having had no previous experience in writing emails to such a large number of recipients, I was taught the do’s and don’ts and how to template my email. Within the marketing team, I also got to witness the amount of hard work which goes into planning and preparing for anything to be sent out to the public and making sure that whatever is being sent out is for the correct audience with the most useful information. Before anything is sent to the public it is prepared and checked way in advance. The FIP World Congress next year is being held in Glasgow and is being hosted by the RPS. Even though the event is over a year away, a tremendous amount of work is currently being done to make sure the event is the best. Having also got the chance to sit in on a meeting, I saw how the RPS have and are still developing programmes to help pharmacy students from their first day till their last and beyond that as well. When we’ve just finished our pre-reg year or we’re over 10 years into our career it is comforting to know that the RPS will be there to support and guide us if we need them. It was also great to see how the RPS are always highlighting the importance of pharmacists in the community and are continuously changing themselves to make our journeys easier.

Read more My week at RPS

Pharmacist outreach for homeless people

Richard LowrieArticle by Richard Lowrie, Lead Pharmacist Research and Development, Clinical Pharmacist, Homeless Health Service, Pharmacy and Prescribing Support Unit, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

As pharmacists we have a unique, generalist skill set and to access our care, patients do not normally need to go through a gatekeeper or require an appointment. This suits patients who are homeless, who tend to have physical and mental ill health and addictions, and who tend not to access preventative care. Read more Pharmacist outreach for homeless people

Opportunities in community pharmacy

By Valerie Sillito, Community Pharmacist

When I qualified , a long long time ago…. pharmacy was all about supply i.e. making powders, compounding creams by the kg, hand filling capsules and many other arcane activities. If a local GP actually asked me for my opinion I was more likely to have a heart attack, never mind come up with a useful suggestion. Of course the BNF only ran to about a 100 pages and the drug shelves were relatively empty (we didn’t have a drug database as this was the handwriting era!).

So, if you were to ask me then what the opportunities in the future might be I suspect it would have been a very limited list.

Now community pharmacy has come on in such leaps and bounds I hardly recognise myself. To name but a few activities: supply of EHC, NRT, treating UTIs and Chlamydia, CPUS (community pharmacy urgent supply) substance misuse services, flu vaccinations, medication reviews, warfarin clinics and those are just the ones under PGDs (patient group directives). Many pharmacies now also offer private services, i.e. the patient has to pay up front, for travel vaccinations, HPV and meningitis B vaccinations, erectile dysfunction and hair loss treatment to name but a few and a very recent innovation has been a sore throat service with treatment if required.

Read more Opportunities in community pharmacy

How pharmacists can help people with learning disabilities

by Robbie Turner, RPS Director for England

Pharmacy teams in community, primary care and acute hospital settings see many people with learning disabilities.

You may not have attached that label to an individual, but you know that you need to use easy words and short sentences for this person, or take longer to show them how to take their medicines. You will know the people who have complex repeat prescriptions – or you will recognise the family member or support worker who hurries in to collect their medicines.

Pharmacists and their teams need to consider how to best communicate with this diverse group and make what are known as ‘reasonable adjustments’ under the Equality Act 2010 to ensure equality of access to pharmacy services.

to help them feel confident in engaging with this diverse group and gives examples of reasonable adjustments. Read more How pharmacists can help people with learning disabilities