Looking back at some of the biggest news stories from the past year.
E-cigarettes that contain nicotine can help people quit smoking long-term or reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke compared with products that do not contain nicotine, say Cochrane reviewers.
Pharmacy bodies remain hopeful that pharmacy will play a meaningful role in new models of NHS care, despite the lack of a formal response to the Call to Action consultation.
Pharmacists risk missing the opportunity to expand their clinical responsibilities within a changing NHS in England because of a failure to reform funding arrangements and a lack of consistent messages about the role the profession can play.
Politicians in Scotland are set to debate the next steps to take in order to tackle rising antimicrobial resistance.
Proposed guideline says pharmacist medication reviews do not provide value for money for the NHS.
EllaOne to be available without prescriptionSubscription
EllaOne (ulipristal acetate), an emergency contraceptive, is to be made available without a prescription from community pharmacies throughout the European Union.
What has been happening in the world of pharmacy? Here’s our pick of must-read news from the past month…
Benefits of influenza vaccinationSubscription
19 November 2014: English Pharmacy Board member Sibby Buckle spoke to the Daily Mail to offer advice and tips about staying healthy this winter. Buckle told the paper that it is a good idea to get a flu jab as it’s 95% effective and lasts for a year. She said: “People who’ve not yet had it can still benefit from getting it now as, with the mild weather we’ve had, the flu season is not under way.”
Treating coughs and coldsSubscription
2 December 2014: Royal Pharmaceutical Society director for Wales Jocelyn Parkes was featured in the Western Mail’s ‘Ask the Experts’ section, speaking about the season of coughs, colds, flu and viruses.
Taking prescription medicinesSubscription
10 December 2014: New data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) revealed that nearly 50% of the population in England are taking prescription medicines.
'I Love My Pharmacist' winner announcedSubscription
Pharmacist Reena Barai has won the ‘I love my pharmacist’ competition
Winter pressures fundingSubscription
14 November 2014: The government announced that a further £300m is being invested to help the NHS in England deal with winter pressures this year. As part of the announcement, patients are being encouraged to make more use of pharmacists and seek early advice from them. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) featured on a number of news outlets speaking about this story, including Good Morning Britain, Sky News and LBC.
Antimicrobial resistance summitSubscription
6 November 2014: the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) hosted a summit on antimicrobial resistance, attended by GPs, hospital doctors, nurses and pharmacists. The summit called for binding national targets to “roll back” antibiotic prescribing to 2010 levels, to halt the relentless rise in resistance. The summit and the topic of antimicrobial resistance was covered that day by a range of national and regional media outlets, including the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Sky News, ITV News, ...
Statin dose timingSubscription
28 October 2014: The Daily Mail reported that statins “work best if they are taken before bedtime”, as individual genes “become more or less active at certain times of the day”. Speaking about simvastatin, Royal Pharmaceutical Society spokeswoman Heidi Wright said: “Simvastatin is best taken at bedtime as your liver makes most of your cholesterol at night. Low-dose aspirin works by making your blood less sticky. There is research that says more heart attacks occur in the morning, so ...
Minor ailments campaignSubscription
19 October 2014: the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) called on the NHS in England to provide a national common ailments service through community pharmacies. It followed the publication of research that showed common ailments, such as coughs and sore throats, cost the NHS an extra £1.1bn a year when patients are treated at A&E or GP ...
Risks of opioid useSubscription
30th September 2014: The Daily Mail reported on a statement from the American Academy of Neurology that said the risks of strong painkillers, including codeine, morphine and oxycodone, outweigh the benefits. Speaking to the paper, Royal Pharmaceutical Society spokesperson Roger Knaggs said: “Like the US, there has been a marked increase in opioid prescribing for pain in the UK. It remains unclear as to whether the harms of this increased prescribing are the same.”
Using antibiotics frugallySubscription
10 October 2014: the first annual report of Public Health England’s English Surveillance Programme for Antimicrobial Utilisation and Resistance was published, showing a 6% increase between 2010 and 2013 in the prescribing of antibiotics by GPs and hospitals. Speaking to BBC Radio Berkshire, Royal Pharmaceutical Society spokesperson Kieran Hand said: “Inevitably, bacteria will become resistant to the antibiotics that are used frequently. ...
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Pharmacists must work with local GPs to encourage prudent antimicrobial prescribing, says Jocelyn Parkes, director of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales.
Pharmacy must turn words into actionSubscription
The pharmacy profession must actively promote its clinical services to avoid a bleak future, says Sandra Gidley, vice-chair of the English Pharmacy Board.
Communicate to make care saferSubscription
Better communication between pharmacists and GPs is crucial to improving patient safety, says Andrea Smith, Scottish Pharmacy Board member and national clinical lead (pharmacy) for the Scottish Patient Safety Programme.
David Branford, English Pharmacy Board chairman, says the government’s decision not to cap pharmacy student numbers could lower the quality of applicants and lead to greater unemployment levels.
Teamwork will define the future NHSSubscription
Greater partnership between pharmacists and other health professions will be vital to delivering better care under the new five-year NHS plan, says Helen Gordon, chief executive of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
A greater role for pharmacists is essential if the NHS is to reduce unsustainable pressure on unplanned care services, says Howard Duff, director for England at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
Jacqueline Sneddon, project lead for the Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group, and Annamarie McGregor, professional support pharmacist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, explain how pharmacists in Scotland can improve antimicrobial stewardship.
A new generation of RPS members is invigorating local practice forums in Wales, says Mair Davies, chair of the Welsh Pharmacy Board.
RPS president Ash Soni reflects on major issues raised during the ‘pharmacy conference season’ in September.
Getting our priorities correctSubscription
English Pharmacy Board Chairman Dave Branford looks at the challenges of setting priorities in such a diverse profession as pharmacy.
Jonathan Burton and Miles Mack provide a summary of the recent collaborative work between the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Royal College of General Practitioners.
Striving to improve standardsSubscription
Jocelyn Parkes, RPS director for Wales, looks at what is being done across Wales to improve patient care in light of the ‘Trusted to care’ report.
Newly elected RPS President Ash Soni looks at some of the challenges ahead, including gaining his own Faculty accreditation.
English Pharmacy Board chairman Dave Branford makes the case for pharmacists to have more input into care home prescribing.