Top 8 Tips for passing your Accuracy Checking final assessment

Janita Patel, an NPA L&D pharmacist, sets out eight top tips to help students pass their final assessment.

  Janita Patel, the NPA’s Learning and Development pharmacist responsible for its Accuracy checking courses sets out eight top tips below to help students to pass their final assessment. These tips have been compiled based on Janita’s experience of running the NPA final assessments in recent years and feedback provided by students. In advance of the final assessment, we strongly recommend that you ask your supervisor to set up at least one mock exam so you can practise accuracy checking of prescriptions in a quiet environment and under timed conditions – more details are available in your tutor and trainee guides. On the day of the final assessment once you have checked a prescription and moved on to another, if you feel you have made a mistake and/or remember something you didn’t note, you are not allowed to go back. You are not required to do any legal checks – assume these have already been done. This means, do not worry about the date on the Rx or if it is signed. You do not have to check that the correct cautionary labels are in place, assume this has been done for you. Do not worry about clinical checking – this is the Pharmacist’s role – not that of the accuracy checking technician (ACT).…

We’re taking a Primary Care Network journey. Want to come along?

By Paul Brett, Monkbar Pharmacy

Primary Care Networks (PCN) officially came into being at the beginning of July.  Liaising with our local pharmaceutical committee and supported by the National Pharmacy Association, we will actively engage with our local PCN in the months ahead. We’re going to tweet and blog about our experiences along the way, so that you can see our highs and lows and maybe you can start your own ‘PCN Journey’ with the help of your local pharmaceutical committee.  If we can do it, you can do it too! We own a 100 hour pharmacy inside the beautiful walled city of York. Monkbar Pharmacy was opened by me and my friend and colleague Neil, after years of dreaming of creating a pharmacy which would be designed entirely around the needs of customers.  The initial fundamental principles of going that extra mile and doing away with targets for staff, so that they are free to focus on the needs of the individual are just as strong as ever, although increasingly challenging in these times. My wife Vikki has been with us throughout, but this year has become much more involved and is using her skills gained during a long career in the NHS, and her passion for collaborative working to forge new relationships within the local healthcare community.…

Scotland won’t sit on its pharmacy laurels

By Phil Galt, NPA board member

Scotland is a good news story for community pharmacy and we’ve seen many positive developments in pharmacy practice across the network here. When the NPA board came to Edinburgh in May, to discuss the things that matter most to the association’s members in Scotland, I confess to feeling rather proud about Scottish pharmacy’s many achievements. Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Professor Rose Marie Parr, attended our meeting and was once again very clear that pharmacy is a key partner in delivering NHS care in the community. Rose Marie is a force for good in the health & social care system and we eagerly look forward to her joining the panel at the next NPA conference, in Manchester. Community Pharmacy Scotland was represented by Matt Barclay, who also looked forward to a ‘bright future for community pharmacy in Scotland’ based on the shared vision encapsulated in the Achieving Excellence strategy and the CPS manifesto. It’s sometimes said south of the border that Scotland is a model that others should follow – in terms of the far-sightedness of the agenda here and also the constructive tone in which discussions are typically conducted between government, NHS and the pharmacy sector. Certainly some of the things pharmacy leaders hanker for in England are long established in Scotland – notably a clear and agreed vision for community pharmacy within the NHS.…

Ask Your Pharmacist Week – a patient’s perspective

Graham Prestwich
Public and Patient Engagement Lead
Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network

A GP told me a couple of weeks ago that, in his view, not achieving safe and proper use of medicines is the biggest risk to effective care and the future of the NHS. Why? Something that is so common and so widely used, the most common approach to improving health and wellbeing, is not being used as intended or expected.   It is generally accepted that up to 50% of prescription medicines may not be used properly, even though many medicines are intended to prevent harmful and often fatal events such as a stroke or heart attack. There are 1.3 million items prescribed every day across the NHS and the NHS relies on people to use and take their medicines as intended. If patients are not using medicines as intended problems with effectiveness, safety and waste of treatment are the result. These are all good reasons to seek out new and effective ways to further improve patient outcomes.   Patients are important members of the health and wellbeing team, not least because when it comes to medicines, people can choose what to do and what not to do, and when. We asked people from different communities across the city about the way they use medicines and interestingly they revealed very similar issues.…

The team at Lincolnshire Co-op reveal why they’re taking part in Ask Your Pharmacist Week

Here at Lincolnshire Co-op, we’re gearing up for Ask Your Pharmacist Week which runs from November 5 to 12.

    The AYP theme this year ‘let’s talk medicines safety’ really resonates for us because patient safety is at the centre of all we do and we pride ourselves on the quality of our conversations with patients. It’s important that patients feel able to ask our pharmacists anything at all about their medicines, health and wellbeing. In particular we want to promote joint decision-making – with patients and carers playing a more active role in their medication management and comfortable to raise any concerns they may have.   As well as the main aim of the campaign – improving safe medicines use amongst our patients – there are other benefits from taking part.   One of the outcomes we hope to see by taking part in AYP Week is an increased number of patients making good use of MURs and NMS in our pharmacies.  The calls to action go something like this:  If you have been newly prescribed a medicine by your doctor, talk with your local pharmacist to understand how it works in your body and how best to take it; if you have been taking the same medicines for a long time, talk with your pharmacist about whether they are still working to best effect; if you have recently been discharged from hospital, check your medicines with your local pharmacist, because errors sometimes happen when patients move between care settings.…

My Experience: Mary Seacole Leadership Programme

Nick Kaye recalls his recent experience of undertaking the Mary Seacole programme.

When I first considered the Mary Seacole development programme, I was particularly interested in learning more about leadership. I am privileged to hold various leadership roles and was curious to know how the programme would improve my skills and add value to these roles. However, I also felt nervous about being away from the pharmacy in order to carry out the programme- and would investing my time be worth it? I decided to take the plunge. The first session was in Taunton, in a lovely but imposing town hall. I was intrigued about who I was about to meet and what I would learn about myself during the duration of the course. The first thing that struck me was the diversity of 30 or so of us in the group. We had Chief Officers of LPCs, an ex-Regional Director of Boots, an NPA Board Member, Pharmacists that have dual roles across GP practices, a newly qualified Pharmacist that had been the Chemist & Druggist highly commended Pre-reg. of the year only 12 months ago, and various Pharmacy Technicians. One of whom was new in post in a Manager role, and one that had been a Manager of the same pharmacy for many years.…

Is your pharmacy discriminating when recruiting?

The NPA Employment Law Advisory Service Team can provide you with guidance.

  Whether you like to admit it or not, we all have our own bias which can shape our recruitment decisions. Bias is a problem for your pharmacy because it can mean you miss out on some fantastic talent, lead to a less diverse workforce and put you at risk of unlawful discrimination claims. How could employers expose themselves to risk? Under the Equality Act, employers cannot discriminate, either directly or indirectly, on the basis of any of the ‘protected characteristics’. These protected characteristics are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. This covers the recruitment process, so includes when drafting job adverts, sifting through CVs and the interview process itself. Job adverts When you draft job adverts, you need to take care when using gender-specific terms and refrain from using phrases such as ‘mature’ unless they are actual requirements for the job role. Otherwise you leave your pharmacy at risk of claims of sex or age discrimination. The NPA Employment Law Advisory Service Team can provide you with guidance. Sifting through CVs Direct discrimination covers ‘discrimination by perception’. This occurs when where a person is treated less favourably because other people believe they have a protected characteristic, but in they do not.…

Representing you through consultations

Helga Mangion, NPA Policy Manager

The consultations that the NPA deals with tend to come from policy makers who develop policies relating to community pharmacy and independent pharmacy sector. The consultations issued by the Department of Health and Social Care and the GPHC are absolutely key as they directly impact the way pharmacies function and the way pharmacists interact with patients. The NPA also responds to consultations that affect community pharmacy as a consequence rather than directly. For example; community pharmacy provides many ill-health prevention services, such as smoking cessation, and these services are commissioned through local authorities. A year ago the NPA submitted evidence to a parliamentary enquiry regarding the public health department’s move to local government. This inflicted huge impact on community pharmacy as now many pharmacy services are commissioned differently. Public health itself then suffered a dramatic budget cut, which in turn affected the number of services being commissioned through community pharmacy. The main challenge in dealing with consultations is working to extremely tight deadlines. Major consultations often allow 3 months, whereas some more specific areas may only grant a matter of weeks. In this time we are required to inform members about the consultation subject matter, gather opinions and collate them as a response.…

My proudest NHS moment

We are the heart and hands of the NHS in our neighbourhoods.

“A patient had nominated our pharmacy team as we had supported her mental health alongside our excellent clinical role caring for her physical ailment. As a result of her condition,  she had lost her job , was getting  increasingly socially isolated with the risk of further deterioration in her mental wellbeing. We had acted proactively, contacting her regularly ,  supporting  her to be  more resilient and socially engaged. We were really genuinely surprised to be informed of our award. No less so than because we only did what many other community pharmacies likewise do daily. Community pharmacy is the most accessible NHS outpost, a place where physical , mental and social challenges affecting the health and wellbeing of our communities gets resolved. We perform this role because of the brilliant vision that created the NHS , of which we are an integral part not an adjunct . The challenges faced today are multifaceted , the impact of social care and mental health  on physical health focusing attention on why parity of attention and resources across all three is essential. As our patients and many others across the country can attest, community pharmacy offers so much. We are the heart and hands of the NHS in our neighbourhoods.”…

My proudest NHS moment

"Patients are often surprised when they find out that I can prescribe and that they don’t always have to wait to see a GP - surprised and often very relieved."

“I’ve had patients come to me in quite a lot of pain and discomfort and I can often see them, there and then, without the need for an appointment. Technically there are only three drugs in the BNF that I cannot prescribe but the reality is I only prescribe in my areas of competence for acute uncomplicated conditions. It’s like an extension of the minor ailment service so it’s for things like impetigo, gout, UTIs, ear infections, eczema and dermatitis. I had to do six months’ training, alongside work, which was funded by the CCG just as the prescribing budget itself is. The CCG examined the health profile in Barrow in Furness and the difficulty in recruiting GPs and funded me in a bid to improve access to prescribers. It works, we get quite a lot of referrals from surgeries and other pharmacies as well as by word of mouth. Patients still have to be registered with a local GP so I can access their records on the shared care viewer, which is more detailed than a summary care record. It means we can help share more of the burden on the NHS system and take pressure off GPs and A&E but it is also often far more convenient for the patients themselves.”…