Allergy Awareness Week

Allergy UK Allergy Awareness Week 2017 is taking place from 24th – 30th April. This week can be used to raise awareness for all allergic conditions including food, respiratory, skin and children’s allergies. You may wish to use the week to draw attention to the support available in your pharmacy. Since we are approaching ‘hay fever season’, why not use our Hay Fever FAQs on your social media platforms? You can also raise awareness by downloading our Hay Fever poster to use online and in your pharmacy window.

How Pharmacists Can Help: At this time of year it is also important to be ready to help customers with their hay fever symptoms. Pharmacies should look to effectively promote this message in order to increase footfall into the pharmacy. Hay Fever FAQ: What is hay fever? Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen. It is also known as ‘seasonal allergic rhinitis’ because it affects the linings of the eyes, nose and throat at times of the year when specific pollens are in the air. What are the symptoms of hay fever? Common symptoms are a runny or blocked nose, itchy nose or throat, frequent sneezing, and itchy, red or watery eyes.  If your hay fever is particularly bad, it can have a significant effect on your quality of life – reducing your ability to concentrate and you may be unable to sleep. How many people are affected by hay fever? Hay fever is one of the most common allergic conditions. It is estimated that there are more than 10 million people with hay fever in England. Hay fever usually begins in childhood or during the teenage years, but you can get it at any age. Hay fever is more likely if there is a family history of allergies, particularly asthma or eczema.…

No Smoking Day 2017

National No Smoking Day 2017 is held annually on the second Wednesday in March to give a ‘quit date’ to those who are considering and wanting to give up smoking. Ensure that your patients are aware of the help and support they can access at their local pharmacy, not just today but all year round.

Every month over 4,000 people quit smoking with the help of the services provided by community pharmacy, however today is a great opportunity to increase this number. People who smoke put themselves at greater risk of developing serious illnesses which can lead to disability or death. Among other health complications, smoking can cause cancer, heart and lung disease. Smoking can also reduce fertility.  Apart from the health implications, smoking also has cosmetic effects, such as wrinkles appearing at a younger age and discoloration of skin and teeth. Quitting smoking has huge health benefits including dramatically reducing risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and a variety of cancers. It is also a good way to save money. Take the opportunity this No Smoking Day to encourage your patients to make today the day. You can help spread awareness by sharing the Ask Your Pharmacist poster on your pharmacy’s social media platforms, or by displaying it in your pharmacy window. Author:  Leyla Hannbeck…

How to live well with Hygge

The Danish idea of hygge describes a feeling of happiness, contentment and wellbeing derived from cosiness and the small pleasures in life. In many ways some of the things we do are ‘hyggelig’ without us realising - like sitting down to eat supper with family, or lighting a candle while sitting down to read a book. Appreciating the simple comforts around us can help to enhance general wellbeing - particularly during the cold Winter months.

It is important to keep warm in your home during Winter, particularly to help prevent illness such as cold and flu. Staying warm at home doesn’t have to mean increasing your energy bills; cosy up with thick blankets and a hot water bottle to enjoy being snug in the spirit of hygge. Wrap up! Chunky knits, woolly hats and fluffy socks are not only a good way to keep your body at a good temperature, take pleasure in the soft feeling of comfort. This could be enhanced by enjoying a hot drink like tea or hot chocolate, or a hot meal. Although a necessity, one of the small pleasures we may take for granted each day is the food we eat. Hot, comforting foods like stews, pies and chilli will warm your body and satisfy your needs. Cooking together and sitting down to enjoy a meal is also a great way to share time with your loved ones and appreciate what you have. The essence of hygge encourages one to be mindful and at peace, and solo activities such as yoga or cycling may help to achieve this. Light exercise will get your body moving, keeping you active, warm and energised during the season while increasing your dopamine levels- the chemical that helps us feel happiness.…

How community pharmacy can better support the NHS

In my role as chief pharmacist at the NPA I meet a lot of dedicated pharmacists all over the country. The last few months, with government cuts hanging over us in England, have been difficult for everyone but something it has highlighted is the irreplaceable role that pharmacies play for the public.

Unfortunately, the Department of Health has not understood what pharmacies can actually deliver, and neither have they understood what patients need or want. It’s obvious that they don’t see the impact that some of these proposals will have on patient care. A lot of patients who are housebound and are dependent on the deliveries and services provided by community pharmacy will have to find care elsewhere. This is very concerning for many, particularly elderly patients, who will find it harder to access care. This will put even more strain on our NHS too. It seems to me that the government needs to know what pharmacists are achieving at the moment and what potential pharmacy has, and that rather than trying to diminish the role of the pharmacist through cutting their services they should embrace and develop them further. Research has demonstrated that pharmacists could take a huge burden off the shoulders of the NHS, but the government does not yet seem to have taken this on board. The NHS is changing, as it has to, with the requirements of the moment such as long-term conditions, population growth and increased life expectancy, there are various different challenges health-wise that now need to be scrutinised.…

Funding cuts – are you prepared?

The Department of Health’s community pharmacy funding ‘final package’ presents a significant challenge to community pharmacies across England.

To help members cope with the forthcoming changes, the NPA has launched a new webpage dedicated to the funding package called “The Pharmacy Imposition”. Designed as a ‘one-stop shop’ on the funding cuts, it contains everything you need to know about the implications for your pharmacy, and what you can do to improve your business, maximise income and thrive. Included on the page are links to a suite of new NPA resources to help NPA members to understand the funding cuts and what to do about them. Our new resources will guide you through: An overview of the funding cuts Where the cuts are being applied How the cuts will affect your income Eligibility criteria for the Pharmacy Access Scheme and the review process How the payments work Who is not included How and where to apply (NHS England will be accepting applications between 1 November 2016 and 28 February 2017) It is important members fill out the application form accurately to ensure they have the best possible chance for the review application to be accepted How to attain ‘quality points’ as part of the quality payments scheme Includes a comprehensive table with information on how to achieve the gateway and quality criteria Includes all the tools available to help members to start accumulating the points Case studies – covers different pharmacy scenarios How the funding cuts can affect the income from providing NHS Essential Services How a pharmacy can boost its income Staff engagement Assigning roles to individuals and linking these roles to meet the gateway and quality criteria Setting clear objectives and expectations Frequently asked questions received by the Pharmacy Services team The NPA will continue to update these resources accordingly over the coming weeks and months.…