Safe Spaces and the ‘Ask for ANI’ codeword

The National Pharmacy Association is in discussions with the government about the implementation of a new codeword scheme to enable victims of domestic abuse to access support from the safety of their local pharmacy. It is a voluntary scheme and pharmacies are now being invited to register their interest in participating. “Ask for ANI” (Action Needed Immediately) has been developed by the Home Office to provide a simple and discreet way for victims to signal to pharmacy staff that they need help accessing support from the police or other domestic abuse support services. Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, ability, socio-economic status, sexuality or background. This is why the Home Office considers pharmacies, used by people from all walks of life, as a suitable setting for the Ask for ANI scheme. What to do if someone uses the codeword? The scheme has been designed to enable pharmacy staff to respond to the use of the codeword using a simple and straightforward process: Offer to accompany the person to the consultation room or private space. Ask if they are in danger or in need of immediate help and want the police to be called. a.…

THANK YOU! COMMUNITY PHARMACY

From a 19-month-old girl, to a Premier League football club, to the British Prime Minister – the country has paid tribute to community pharmacy. People from all walks of life, from all across the UK have been expressing their heartfelt thanks for a vital profession whose members put their lives on the line every day to help deliver the care, support and health and medical aid that is so desperately needed at these times. From public statements and letters, to social media posts and gifts, numerous people and organisations have come forward to thank their local pharmacy and the profession as a whole. While when windows are thrown open and people stand on their doorsteps applauding every Thursday at 8pm, many are cheering for and thanking community pharmacy. While, on a more sombre note, on 28 April at 11am, a minute’s silence was observed to honour the key workers, including pharmacists, who had lost their lives working for the good of the country during this pandemic. Among those observing the silence was NPA Chair Andrew Lane, who said: “Today, the nation fell silent in remembrance of healthcare workers who’ve fallen victim to coronavirus. “On behalf of the NPA, I want to pay my respects to those pharmacists and pharmacy team members who have had their lives cut short tragically by this virus.…

PPE Roundup

COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease spread mainly through droplet infection. There is currently no vaccine or treatment, so it is recommended that people working in health and social care settings wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Community Pharmacy: Public Health England guidance, published on 2 April and updated 10 days later, recommends the sessional use of fluid-resistant (Type IIR) surgical masks for community pharmacy, if social distancing of two metres cannot be maintained. Sessional use refers to the period of time a staff member works in a specific environment.   Lobbying Government: Senior politicians and officials have said they will do whatever it takes to keep pharmacy staff safe. However, this promise is proving difficult to deliver in practice. It is clear that many pharmacists are still struggling to get hold of face masks in the quantity needed for safety and continuity of service. The NPA is continuing to lobby for supplies to reach pharmacy teams urgently. We stress that a functioning medicines and pharmacy service needs a safe and functioning workforce.   How to access PPE: England It is understood that a PPE portal owned by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is being developed in conjunction with eBay. Until this is launched, the DHSC advises that community pharmacy continue to utilise existing channels:   Wholesalers Order references for masks in stock from wholesalers are: Alliance 8019622 AAH NSU2A Phoenix 6762546   Local Resilience Forums (LRFs).…

The big question

After a TV pundit called pharmacists “pretend doctors”, we ask three pharmacists what they perceive their role to be.

Johnathan Laird Title: Pharmacy Manager Pharmacy: Turriff, Aberdeenshire The notion of what a pharmacist is and what activities or behaviours that word evokes really needs to be completely re-imagined. Our collective relationship with patients and their medicine is central to this future tale. Hepler and Strand told the story of pharmaceutical care back in 1990. This concept and associated story sought to position pharmacists as the guardians of medicines. Safety was the watch word. It never happened as they believed it would I feel. I believe that was down to the lack of digital communication technology capability at the time. We need to re-imagine the story we wish to tell and I think the identity should be built around pharmaceutical care in a digital age. Let’s carve out this new cloudbased guardian of medicines role and find our place once again. It’s about data and what we do with it to make things safer for patients. If we don’t achieve this, then the tech start-ups will steal a march on us and then the pharmacy funding crisis will be the least of our worries. Lee Williams Title: Owner and Pharmacist Pharmacy: Prescription Service, Knutsford So what is a pharmacist? It’s a good question.…

Digital engagement through patient apps

Two digital healthcare companies have become NPA business partners, helping independent pharmacies to improve medicines use and meet consumer demand for mobile health apps.

MedAdvisor and Healthera provide apps that allow community pharmacies to complement, via a digital platform, the face-to-face dialogue that takes place on the pharmacy premises. Through the apps, community pharmacists can support their patients to manage their own medication on their mobile devices. MedAdvisor, a digital medication management company presently in Australia, the USA and Asia, is getting ready to launch its app in the UK. Its NHS-accredited app allows customers to get convenient script refills and renewals, see an up-to-date list of all their medication, pre-order medications from the comfort of their home and set reminders on when to take their medication. There is also a Digital Adherence Programme within the app, which helps patients to take their medication safely, effectively and on time. Healthera has been operating in the UK since 2016 and has been accredited by the NHS. It too helps patients to manage their repeat prescriptions and medication, book appointments and contact their pharmacist for clinical advice. The digital connection adds to the convenience of the pharmacy service and helps to optimise medicines use. Laura Sims, Head of Membership at the NPA, said: “We want to help NPA members provide excellent patient engagement using digital tools that can offer real efficiencies for community pharmacy as well as convenience for patients.…