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COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus assesment area

Pharmacists will be on the front line as the coronavirus crisis unfolds. Here's the latest advice and developments as they happen from The Pharmaceutical Journal team.

Features

COVID 19 antibody testing has not proved as simple as ministers thought

COVID-19 antibody testing not yet a 'game changer'

With doubts around the accuracy of antibody tests and slow progress on point-of-care testing, it is likely we will be waiting some time before we can confidently screen for COVID-19.

No going back: how the pandemic is changing general practice pharmacy

No going back: how the pandemic is changing general practice pharmacy

The coronavirus pandemic has been a huge challenge, but it has revolutionised pharmacy practice in some positive ways. In the second feature of a three-part series, we ask GP pharmacists which changes they want to retain.

Sick man on subway wearing mask

Everything you should know about the coronavirus outbreak

The latest information about the novel coronavirus identified in Wuhan, China, and advice on how pharmacists can help concerned patients and the public.

A finger-prick antibody test

Everything you need to know about COVID-19 antibody tests

Testing for COVID-19 antibodies has been riddled with government miscommunication and a lack of clarity, but here is what we know so far.

Man on oxygen ss20

Everything you need to know about the COVID-19 therapy trials

Researchers around the world are working at record speed to find the best ways to treat and prevent COVID-19, from investigating the possibility of repurposing existing drugs to searching for novel therapies against the virus.

Pharmacist at drive through pharmacy at Northwick Park Hospital Harrow

No going back: how the pandemic is changing hospital pharmacy

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge challenge, but it has revolutionised pharmacy practice in some positive ways. In the first of a three-part series, we ask hospital pharmacists which changes they want to retain.

Infographic

Virus lifecycle and potential therapies

Targeting COVID-19: the drugs being fast-tracked through clinical trials and how they work

The NHS is rapidly enrolling patients into studies as part of a focused international effort to find medicines that will interfere with viral replication or help modulate the immune system response.

COVID 19 Infographic March 2020 Vaccine development

The race to stop COVID-19

As a new strain of coronavirus threatens public health systems across the globe, researchers are racing to develop a vaccine.

Learning

Managing pneumonia in adults with suspected COVID-19

Community management of pneumonia and suspected COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of understanding the differences between viral and bacterial pneumonia, and how adult patients can be managed as they recover at home.

STOP sign in pharmacy

How to keep your community pharmacy running during the COVID-19 pandemic

How pharmacists can implement guidance and best practice in response to the rapidly changing COVID-19 pandemic to ensure patient and staff safety, as well as the approaches pharmacy teams across the UK are taking in response to the virus.

Careers

A day in the life of a critical care pharmacist Sandra Sowah

'It is difficult witnessing patients fight for their lives' — a day in the life of a critical care pharmacist

Working in critical care can be both physically and emotionally challenging, but being proactive can help ensure patient safety and continuity of care.

Tips for new pre-registration trainees

Training during a pandemic: tips for new preregistration trainees

Pharmacy professionals share their advice with the new cohort of preregistration pharmacists about to start their training during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shazia Karsan

'I do not know what to expect' — a day in the life of a pharmacist redeployed owing to COVID-19

Despite having a background in hospital, integrated care pharmacist Shazia Karsan felt an element of anxiety when redeployed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parham Hashem DITL

‘We are at the forefront of COVID-19 research’ — a day in the life of a clinical trials pharmacist

With COVID-19 becoming the number one priority for researchers around the globe, Parham Hashemi describes his role in overseeing the new trials being launched during the pandemic.

Editorial

It should not have taken a pandemic to highlight BAME health inequalities

It should not have taken another pandemic to highlight BAME health inequalities

The high proportion of people from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups dying from COVID-19 has brought health inequalities between ethnic groups to the fore, but this should have been looked into long before the pandemic began.

Change concept

Pharmacy must change as a result of COVID-19, or be left behind

The pharmacy sector must not underestimate the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic will transform the NHS. 

Serology testing for COVID 19 is the way forward but we could face a long wait

Serology testing for COVID-19 is the way forward, but we could face a long wait

While news of imminent serology testing is incredibly encouraging, we must be pragmatic about how quickly it can be made available to the general public.

Dozens of drug candidates are being trialled for both prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19, but it is too early to recommend any of them for routine clinical use.

Why we should be wary of 'game-changing' claims about COVID-19 treatments

Dozens of drug candidates are being trialled for both prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19, but it is too early to recommend any of them for routine clinical use.

Insight

Down, but not out: hydroxychloroquine could still have a role against COVID 19

Down, but not out: hydroxychloroquine could still have a role against COVID-19Subscription

Ongoing research may yet prove that the 4-aminoquinolones are an effective prophylactic medication in those at risk of developing COVID-19.

Medicines being thrown into a bin

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the government to allow medicines reuse: we must not waste this opportunity to counter our throwaway cultureSubscription

Fears over drug shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic mean that, in care homes and hospices, costly medicines prescribed but unused by one patient can now be given to another, rather than destroyed. This formerly illegal practice should stay long after we recover from the pandemic, and be extended to other healthcare settings, so we can reap the financial and environmental benefits.

Comment

Asian woman with face mask

We must tear down the barriers to equality for BAME communities highlighted by COVID-19Subscription

There are two ways that we can begin to address the long-running health disparities between different ethnic groups, which have been highlighted by the disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We risk a cardiovascular health crisis if patients stop seeking help when they need it

We risk a cardiovascular health crisis if patients stop seeking help when they need it

Footfall in emergency departments across the world has decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic, and experts worry that patients with symptoms are staying at home for fear of burdening their healthcare systems. But preventing serious cardiovascular events is still as important as ever, says cardiology consultant pharmacist Rani Khatib.

COVID 19 people who are dependent on illicit drugs

There is a vulnerable group we must not leave behind in our response to COVID-19: people who are dependent on illicit drugs

None of us are safe from COVID-19, but the health status, needs and behaviours of those who use illicit drugs leave them particularly vulnerable — pharmacists can reduce this risk, says drugs researcher Amira Guirguis.

Three ways to safeguard UK drug supplies during COVID 19 and beyond SS20

Ways to safeguard UK drug supplies during COVID-19 and beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic is stretching the NHS, including its supplies of essential drugs, to the limits. We may need new systems in place to ensure patients never miss out on medicines they need.

Research

Rapid review of treatments for novel coronavirus SARS CoV 2 infection

Investigational treatments for COVID-19

A review of several of the treatments for COVID-19 currently being trialled.

Q&A

Richard Hobbs

Richard Hobbs: ‘This trial has been a monumental task’

A principal investigator in one of the UK-based COVID-19 treatment trials speaks about his hopes for the study and the controversy surrounding hydroxychloroquine.

Jo Churchill pharmacy minister

Jo Churchill: 'I'm having forceful conversations about new funding for pharmacy'

The pharmacy minister on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health support for pharmacists and what may be the enduring legacy for the sector.

Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive officer of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies

Leyla Hannbeck: ‘COVID-19 has many pharmacies struggling to keep their heads above water’

The chief executive officer of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies speaks about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected pharmacy and the risk of impending closures.

Blogs

Im an academic pharmacist who retrained to give remote consultations during the pandemic

I'm an academic pharmacist who retrained to give remote consultations during the pandemic

Pharmacy researcher Zoe Edwards could safely do her university work from home, but she knew there was another way she could help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How fearful medication requests have wreaked havoc on my general practice during the COVID-19 pandemic

How fearful medication requests have wreaked havoc on my general practice during the COVID-19 pandemic

Medication-related coronavirus media reports and worried patients have put pressure on general practices and local pharmacies, but we must continue to do right by our patients with chronic conditions, or risk ‘playing catch-up’ later on, says clinical pharmacist Danny Bartlett.

Sarah Seddon

They don’t teach you how to cope with wearing your PPE when you burst into tears on the COVID-19 ICU

The pandemic has brought with it a new and overwhelming way of working in intensive care, and it is taking a heavy emotional toll on hospital staff, says clinical pharmacist Sarah Seddon.

How I faced COVID-19 as a critical care pharmacist in one of the UK's worst hit regions

How I faced COVID-19 as a critical care pharmacist in one of the UK's worst hit regions

Specialist critical care pharmacist Greg Barton recounts how his unit adapted to new practices and unknowns as cases of coronavirus surged in north west England.

Your RPS

Mentoring over coffee

The importance of good mentoring, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

Mentoring can help pharmacists form strong bonds with colleagues early in their career, with mentors providing both professional and emotional support. But mentors can also benefit from being mentees, as senior members of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society explain.

Man wearing face mask in pharmacy

Visitors to pharmacies should wear face coverings, RPS says

The government’s decision to make face coverings compulsory in hospitals should be extended to pharmacies, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has said.

News

Pharmacy face masks

Health and safety watchdog receives six reports of pharmacy staff contracting COVID-19

Community pharmacy employers have reported six cases of staff contracting COVID-19 at work to the Health and Safety Executive as of 25 July 2020, latest figures show.

Patient consultation older person

Primary care network pharmacists to start delivering medication reviews earlier than planned in 'window of opportunity' before winter

A letter from NHS England asks NHS organisations to speed up the return to more normal levels of non-COVID-19 health services.

Additional resources

End-of-life care

Holding hands with someone in a hospital bed

Anticipatory prescribing practices rapidly changing under COVID-19

9 JUL 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to innovation in anticipatory prescribing practices within community palliative care, the results of a survey in BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care have shown.

Caring for palliative care patients at home

Caring for palliative care patients at home: medicines management principles and considerationsSubscription

9 JUN 2020By , , , , , ,

Pharmacists need to understand the range of medicine support that they and their teams can provide to palliative care patients and their caregivers.

Case-based learning: palliative care

Case-based learning: palliative and end-of-life care in community pharmacySubscription

25 OCT 2019By

Community pharmacists encounter patients at all stages in their life; however, patients who require palliative care require dedicated time and special consideration.

Angiogram of a calf showing deep vein thrombosis

Prevention of venous thromboembolism in hospitalised patientsSubscription

5 FEB 2019By

Pharmacists should note the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s updated guidance on use of pharmacological thromboprophylaxis in a range of hospitalised patient groups.

Pharmacist opening a controlled drugs cabinet

Improving and standardising the management of controlled drugsSubscription

25 SEP 2018By , , ,

Ensuring the safe and effective management of controlled drugs is an important role for pharmacists, particularly in secondary care.

Critical care

Kaletra lopanivir/ritonavir

Lopinavir/ritonavir 'not effective' for patients hospitalised with COVID-19, third set of RECOVERY trial results show

30 JUN 2020By

An antiviral treatment commonly used to treat HIV has been found to have no beneficial effect in patients hospitalised with COVID-19, according to the third set of results to come out of the ‘Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy’ trial. 

Prescribing medication

The top ten prescribing errors in practice and how to avoid themSubscription

21 FEB 2019By , , ,

Prescribing errors affect patient safety, but pharmacists and other healthcare professionals can reduce the risk of them occurring.

Close up of an IV drip

Intravenous fluid managementSubscription

30 NOV 2018By

An introduction to fluid management for adults in hospitals, covering replacement during resuscitation, malnourished patients and following large electrolyte losses.

Infection prevention

Boots pharmacy

Boots signs up for asymptomatic COVID-19 testing pilot

14 JUL 2020By

Boots is taking part in a pilot to evaluate the effectiveness of asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for people in “high-contact” professions.

Washing hands

Hand hygiene interventions could lower death rates in nursing home residentsSubscription

26 MAR 2018

Hand hygiene interventions, well known for their ability to reduce disease and death rates, are rarely implemented in nursing homes.

Scanning electron microscope of lung tissue

Diagnosis and management of hospital-acquired pneumonia in older adults Subscription

6 FEB 2018By

Hospital‑acquired pneumonia increases the length of in-patient hospital stay and is associated with high mortality rates, particularly in older people. Pharmacists and healthcare professionals need to know how to diagnose and manage the condition, and be cognisant of the gaps in the evidence base.

Illustration antibiotic destroying bacteria

Principles of initiating antimicrobial therapy and empiric prescribingSubscription

11 AUG 2016By

Healthcare professionals should be aware of the principles of antimicrobial treatment and the need to reduce inappropriate prescribing to retain the effectiveness of drugs currently available.

Healthcare-associated infection in England was 6.4% in 2011 and six common infections accounted for over 80% of infections in adults. In the image, a petri dish with a staphylococcus aureus culture

Healthcare-associated infection: best practice in prevention and controlSubscription

21 JUL 2015By

Understand the standard principles and practices of infection control, with a brief overview of initiatives aimed at reducing rates of infection acquired in a healthcare setting.

Wellbeing

Sick from stress: presenteeism in pharmacy

Sick from stress: 'presenteeism' in pharmacySubscription

3 FEB 2020By

With increasing pressures placed on pharmacy professionals, presenteeism — or working when not fit to do so — is becoming more common. This can have detrimental effects on individuals, their families and patients.

Writing comp featured image

Just talking, itself, is therapeutic

30 AUG 2019By

Writing competition 2019

Helping hands and people talking

Supporting the supporterSubscription

27 NOV 2017By

With ever increasing stressors placed on the healthcare sector, it is important that pharmacy professionals are able to look after their own health and wellbeing. But who can pharmacy professionals turn to when they are the ones in need of support? 

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