Article 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 ›
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.
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.
Bringing together representatives of community pharmacies large and small they have demonstrated a real commitment to openness, transparency, and in learning from each other to improve the safety of the people they serve.
The use of real life examples as part of the report has, unsurprisingly, led to a focus on the aspects that have gone wrong in the past rather than the work being done to prevent these happening again. This was always going to be a risk for the group but they took a decision that the real life examples helped to demonstrate why they have made some of the recommendations they have. I think this was a good and brave decision.
If we are to continue to improve the safety of services we provide as pharmacists it is essential that we are able to share our mistakes and discuss how we, as a profession, think they can be prevented from happening again.
The work of the Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group is an important step towards a safer future for our patients and the public.
To really deliver a future where pharmacists and their teams can be open and transparent when they make honest mistakes we need to remove the fear of being automatically criminalised for reporting dispensing errors.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society believes that the move to decriminalise single dispensing errors is long overdue and is lobbying hard to ensure this is delivered as soon as possible by the government.
by Stephen Goundrey-Smith, RPS Informatics Advisor
In today’s NHS, pharmacy teams are delivering an ever-widening range of services which make a real contribution to patient care. What’s more, pharmacy professionals are working in various settings – community and hospital pharmacies, but increasingly in GP surgeries, care homes and other places.
The potential for valuable service provision by pharmacy teams working across different care settings, means that the need for IT interoperability to enable integrated healthcare – and joined-up pharmacy services – has never been greater.
Good progress has been made with tactical solutions for community pharmacy access to prescribing records including the roll-out of the Summary Care Record to community pharmacists, and the use of hospital discharge e-Referral systems (PharmOutcomes and Refer to Pharmacy).
77th FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Medicines and beyond! The soul of pharmacy
Seoul, Republic of Korea | 10-14 September 2017
The 2017 FIP congress in Seoul, South Korea, invites an international audience of pharmacy professionals and pharmaceutical scientists to go beyond medicines and answer patients’ demand for high quality help and advice.
At this year’s congress, the professional symposia will explore the many new ways that pharmacy professionals can add the value expected by modern healthcare systems and services. Sessions will show that tradition and dedication to patients’ health – the true soul of pharmacy – can be coupled with innovation in technology, education and practice to deliver care fit for the 21st century. Join us and meet pharmacists from over 100 countries. More information can be found here.
Marianna Liaskou, MRPharmS, Research Administrator, Research and Evaluation (R&E), Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS)
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 Jodie Williamson MRPharmS, Pharmacist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society
In November 2015 the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Wales claimed that we need 400 more GPs in Wales by 2020 to avert a crisis in our NHS. We are frequently told about the crisis facing GPs. But did you know that many health problems can be resolved without the need for a GP appointment? Your local pharmacist is there to provide advice and support for a number of common complaints and in some cases, they can even provide treatment on prescription or free of charge.
There are a number of pharmacy services available across Wales. It’s worth Find your local pharmacy services, and using your pharmacy as your first point of contact for any non-emergency medical needs. Here’s a round-up of just some of the services on offer across Wales:
This service has been developed to help relieve pressure on GPs. It gives pharmacists access to a summary of a patient’s GP record, provided the patient gives their consent for them to view it. This improves patient safety and allows pharmacists to treat minor conditions through the Common Ailments Service (CAS). This allows you to see your pharmacist for a long list of common conditions, including hayfever and conjunctivitis, and you will receive advice and any necessary treatment free of charge. It is currently available in more than 220 pharmacies in Wales and the Welsh Government has made funding available to roll it out to all pharmacies in Wales by 2020.
Stop Smoking Services
All pharmacists are able to provide advice and support to those wishing to stop smoking, and in many pharmacies quitting aids such as nicotine patches, lozenges and chewing gum are available free of charge through the smoking cessation services available.
Triage and Treat
If you live in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion or Pembrokeshire, or are even visiting the area on holiday, you can access the triage and treat service. It is available in a number of pharmacies across the West Wales area, offering treatment for a range of low level injuries and potentially saving you a trip to A&E or the doctor. The list of injuries that they can treat includes:
• Minor cuts and wounds
• Sprains and strains
• Eye complaints e.g. sand in the eye
• Removal of items from the skin e.g. splinters or shell fragments
• Minor burns including sunburn.
You can get advice on managing the above injuries from any pharmacy, but this service enables pharmacists to offer additional onsite treatment.
You don’t need to see your GP for emergency contraception (often referred to as the morning after pill). It is available to buy over the counter from most pharmacies, and many pharmacists are also registered to provide it free of charge following a short consultation to make sure it is appropriate for you to take. This will be done in a private consultation room and you don’t need to tell anyone else what you are there for – just ask for a private chat with the pharmacist.
At a time when the NHS is under enormous pressure, think about visiting your local pharmacist first – if they can’t help they will be able to refer you to the best person for your needs.
by Yaksheeta Dave, GP practice pharmacist, London.
I registered as a pharmacist in 2003 and my background has been a mixture of community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy and primary care. I started working as GP practice pharmacist prior to the NHS England pilot although the GP practice that I work in is currently part of the pilot.
I am the point of contact for local community pharmacies regarding any patient related or general queries that they may have. We have an on-site community pharmacy as well as approximately five community pharmacies locally that the majority of our patients use for pharmacy services.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society is the dedicated professional body for pharmacists and pharmacy in England, Scotland and Wales.
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