The history of cosmetics – unwrapped

By Matthew Johnston, RPS Museum

‘Removes blotches,’ ‘clears the complexion,’ ‘removes freckles, pimples, and all spots.’

Turn on your TV or open a magazine and you might see these words advertising the latest beauty product, but in fact they come from the Roman writer Pliny the Elder’s description of a substance called crocodilea – the dung or intestinal contents of a crocodile.

As well as its uses in skincare it was recommended as an eye salve, taken internally for epilepsy, and as a pessary for stimulating menstrual flow.

In 2016 the RPS Museum became a partner in a research project on ancient skincare, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Science in Culture strand. Now, as the study reaches its conclusion, the team – including researchers from the Universities of Oxford, Glasgow and Keele – are going to showcase some of the findings in a series of events at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society on 15th and 16th  February. Read more The history of cosmetics – unwrapped

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?

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?

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.

Joined up pharmacy IT and services – how do we get there?

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).

But how can the infrastructure for a fully-integrated health service be developed, to support comprehensive pharmacy services going forward? Read more Joined up pharmacy IT and services – how do we get there?

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

How working with a GP practice pharmacist helps me and improves patient care: a community view

Reena Patelby Reena Patel, Watmans Pharmacy, London

About me
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

Top tips from a practice pharmacist on working with community colleagues

Yaksheeta Dave Photo 2by Yaksheeta Dave, GP practice pharmacist, London.

About me
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.

My top 5 tips for a new GP pharmacist to make sure they get off to a great start with local community pharmacists: Read more Top tips from a practice pharmacist on working with community colleagues

RPS England responds to review of prescribing of certain products and medicines

Sandra Gidley 3by RPS England Chair Sandra Gidley

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

RPS supports availability of sildenafil in pharmacies

Martin Astburyby RPS President Martin Astbury

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