What you must know about sunscreen

by Colin Cable, RPS Assistant Chief Scientist

Summer is coming. But when the sun comes out do we all know how to protect ourselves from its damaging rays?

To try and get a feel for the public’s understanding of sun protection the Royal Pharmaceutical Society carried out a survey – and about the types of damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation, sunscreen labelling and how to use sunscreens effectively. Read more What you must know about sunscreen

Transforming outcomes: How pharmacy can play its part

Ahead of the 2018 FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Glasgow, Scotland, Harriet Pike speaks to some of the key players behind the congress programme to find out what’s in store.

Wherever you practise, patients’ needs are changing. Advances in science and technology mean that individualised treatments can offer better outcomes than a “one-size-fits-all” approach. But there are challenges: new technologies often come with a hefty price tag, adding to the huge financial pressures already faced by health systems; practitioners are increasingly expected to emerge from their professional silos to collaborate for the benefit of patients; and the health workforce is not always a predictable resource.

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) wants pharmacists to be part of the solution. “It is the responsibility of each of us to transform and advance the profession to improve the health of our patients and nations,” says Lars-Åke Söderlund, head of national customers and new businesses at Apoteket AB, Sweden, and a member of the 2018 World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences programme committee. Read more Transforming outcomes: How pharmacy can play its part

Changing the way pharmacists learn

 Ahead of the 2018 FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Glasgow, Scotland, Harriet Pike speaks to educators who are transforming the way pharmacists learn.

In the classrooms of The University of Sydney, Australia, students from a broad range of health disciplines are working together to solve complex, authentic, clinical cases. Medical trainees collaborate with diagnostic radiography students, who in turn discuss a patient’s drug history with pharmacy students, among others, each relying on the unique knowledge and skills of their peers.

Interprofessional education, while logistically difficult to organise, is an essential component of a health professional’s training, according to Timothy Chen, professor of medication management at the university and an interprofessional education champion. “To get the best outcomes for our patients, healthcare professionals must be able to work effectively in teams,” says Professor Chen, who will share his experiences of this way of learning at the 2018 FIP congress in Glasgow, Scotland. “Transforming outcomes” is the theme of the congress, to be held from 2 to 6 September, which will capture innovations in education that are helping pharmacists practise at the top of their game.

Interprofessional education makes perfect sense: as populations age and health interventions become increasingly complex, teams of specialists will be needed to affect the best outcomes for patients. And while pharmacists are already working in multidisciplinary environments, team work can be complex and complicated and does not necessarily come naturally.

Read more Changing the way pharmacists learn

My experience as an RPS English Pharmacy Board member

Sharon Buckle is Vice Chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board and a Pharmacy Manager for Boots.

In June 2012 I was delighted to be elected onto the English Pharmacy Board. I was so honoured and so determined that we would be a bold, decisive and happening board, making a difference for our Profession.

If I could sum up in 3 words what is required of a board member, I would cite three characteristics:

  • Passionate
  • Persistent
  • Pragmatic

I made 3 pre-election pledges:
1/ to push for the sharing of patient records with pharmacists
2/ to fight for decriminalisation of single dispensing errors
3/ to raise the profile of pharmacists with Government, politicians and medics

In 2018 we are well on the way to delivering all three! Read more My experience as an RPS English Pharmacy Board member

Daniel Hanbury: family, the RPS and beyond

By Karen Horn, RPS Librarian

(with painting of Daniel Hanbury)

Daniel Hanbury’s family connections to the RPS extend back to the Society’s inception.  His father, Daniel Bell Hanbury, and uncle, Cornelius Hanbury, were both founder members of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain in 1841.  They were nephews by marriage of William Allen, the Society’s first president and, like other founder members, they were Quakers.

The Hanbury brothers and William Allen had further ties as business partners, along with John Thomas Barry, in the long-established pharmaceutical firm Allen, Hanburys and Barry – later Allen and Hanburys. Read more Daniel Hanbury: family, the RPS and beyond

Antimicrobial resistance – how we can help you

By Professor Ash Soni, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Decades of inappropriate use of antibiotics, combined with a dearth of development and discovery of antimicrobials, has led to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) emerging as one of the most critical risks to global public health requiring action by governments around the world.

Each and every one of us has a role to play in meeting the challenge set by the UK Government in 2016 of reducing inappropriate antibiotic prescribing by 50%.

That’s why this year we focused providing professional resources to support you to help protect antibiotics for the future. Most are on our AMR hubpage but here’s a quick round-up in case you missed them: Read more Antimicrobial resistance – how we can help you

Why I’m going to the 2018 FIP World Congress in Glasgow

Ravi Sharma, Primary Care pharmacist, spoke to us about his experiences of attending the FIP World Congress.

Seoul 2017 was my second FIP World Congress and my first time as a speaker. My first congress was in Dusseldorf in 2015. I remember my first time attending FIP in Germany was quite scary at first, as it was a bit daunting being on my own and trying to network with people who come from all over the world. However, I quickly realised that the people who attend are lovely, very friendly and easy to talk to. Everyone was very keen on networking, getting to know each other and interested in hearing about all the transformational work that is happening in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences across the globe.

There was a variety of interesting and current topics at Seoul this year. They covered a range of key global health topics such as AMR (Antimicrobial Resistance), new models of healthcare, education reform/transformation and public health. FIP World Congress provides the global view on pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences by promoting shared learning from around the world, showing how it’s possible to deliver care differently across difference health social-economies and systems.

FIP World Congress was a great opportunity to learn about advances in education and how we can implement best practice. We also got to hear the latest trends and research in clinical, educational and futuristic healthcare such as genomics and gene-cell therapies. All this gave me great new ideas to apply to day to day practice. The congress included very interesting and interactive workshops spanning different clinical, leadership and education topics; inter-professional, experimental learning and flipped classrooms.

FIP is a great opportunity to network with global leaders in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, but also to meet speakers outside traditional pharmacy who can provide valuable insights and perspectives. Networking in this way allows you to create new opportunities to collaborate on all levels; clinical, academic, policy, innovation and new models of care.

Attending FIP is always a fantastic chance to meet friends from across the world, to be inspired and get motivated. In 2018, FIP World Congress is taking place in the UK for the first time in nearly 40 years, in Glasgow. From 2-6 September the international pharmacy world will converge in Scotland. Make sure you don’t miss out! Booking opens January 15th 2018. Check out www.rpharms.com/fip2018 for more information.

Pharmacists’ role in person-centred care

By Andrew McCracken, head of communications at National Voices.

For at least 20 years, policy makers have been aspiring to deliver ‘person-centred’ care.

There have been revised definitions of quality, national commitments, and phrases like “people at the heart” and “empowered communities” have become ubiquitous.

So what difference, if any, have policymakers’ stated ambitions made to the experiences of people who need and use services and support? We wanted to know. Read more Pharmacists’ role in person-centred care

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

My cyber-attack week

By Sibby Buckle, RPS English Pharmacy Board

What a week this has been!  On Friday 12 May 2017, IT systems in 47 NHS trusts in England and 13 NHS organisations in Scotland came under attack from a global malicious software attack. Here’s the latest from NHS Digital.

I work in a community pharmacy in Nottingham and first became aware of a problem when the systems of local GP surgeries and hospitals went down.  Over the weekend in the face of the cyber attack, our pharmacy and countless others continued to do what we always do, delivering fantastic patient care, giving advice and dispensing patients medicines in a timely, safe and efficient manner.

Returning to work on the Monday morning, I was bombarded with messages from my dispensing colleagues. The surgeries had been on the phone first thing to confirm that their systems were still down, and even their faxes weren’t working. Read more My cyber-attack week