Community pharmacy has a vital role in communicating information about medicines to patients

One thing I am passionate about as a representative of the consumer healthcare industry is ensuring people can access easily understandable and reliable information about their medicines, so they feel empowered and confident to look after their own health when appropriate.

In PAGB research, 71 per cent of people thought there should be better education around self-treatable conditions to encourage more people to self care.1 For me, this is an industry priority. That’s why PAGB is an active supporter of the Self Care Forum, a charity that helps to promote self care and improve health literacy.

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Mike Smith puts the world to rights...

I have recently attended several meetings and debates iabout the value of brands, and this has made me think a lot about the community pharmacy brand. I think that now is the time to consider how to promote our brand, which has enormous value and is widely trusted by our patients, customers and fellow healthcare professionals. Pharmacy is a great brand and being a pharmacist is a great job.

Recently, I read a survey about the professional groups that the general public trusts the most. Firemen came at the top of this list, followed by airline pilots and then pharmacists. Another survey of the public’s view of health professionals I have seen showed similar results, with pharmacists the second most trusted after nurses. I am sure that there are many other surveys with different outcomes, but one thing is clear – that pharmacists are consistently in the top five.


For many months now, I have discussed the challenges facing community pharmacy, so I’ll limit my comments this time. Then I think it is time to get bullish and optimistic about the future for our proud and trusted profession.

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There are other priorities to be tackled before any proposed changes to supervision, suggests Noel Wicks

Supervision seems to be the topic on everyone’s lips at the moment. The debate was re-ignited recently by the letter from a group of RPS members to the President-elect stating that supporting the removal of the need for a pharmacist in a pharmacy would be a betrayal of its members.

This thorny issue has been sat with the Department of Health’s rebalancing board for the last four years with many views expressed both for and against changes to supervision rules.


The Department set itself the task of looking at supervision because it believes that current legislation restricts the full use of the skill of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and puts unnecessary obstacles in the way of new models of service delivery.

Are they right? Do we actually need more flexibility in service provision?

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Numark's Mandeep Mudhar comments on the resilience of community pharmacy.

If we’ve learned anything over the past few months, it is that pharmacy needs to work much, much harder to be heard – and considered – in an extremely noisy, politically charged environment.

Just when the sector thought that the judicial decision not to reverse the funding cuts was the height of its misfortune, a number of pharmacy representatives and prominent industry gures lost their clout in Government.

 

Oliver Colvile, Conservative MP and vice-chair of the All-Party Pharmacy Group, lost his seat
in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, and Jason McCartney, who was the only Conservative MP to vote against the funding cuts in pharmacy last year (when 299 of his party peers did the opposite), lost his seat in Colne Valley. Signifcantly, we also witnessed the exit of pharmacy minister David Mowat MP, opening the doors to the appointment of a new minister.

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How can you make sure that people think to visit pharmacy before setting off on holiday?

I’m sure I’m not the only one looking forward to my summer holiday. For most of us, it is one of the highlights of the year. Of course, we should all take the necessary precautions to make sure we don’t encounter any holiday health hazards, and so a pre-holiday trip to the pharmacy should be a key part of people’s travel preparations.

It is hoped that most people know that pharmacy staff are well placed to recommend the appropriate medicines and travel products that can be used to treat conditions such as sunburn, headaches, diarrhoea and insect bites, and also that community pharmacists can offer advice on any vaccinations or additional medications that people may need.

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