Tag Archives: GP

The Book

I have a dream. It’s not quite as powerful as Mr King’s but it’s important to me. I want to write a book about life in pharmacy. There is too much doom and gloom surrounding pharmacy and I want it to make people laugh.

A similar book was published recently. I have not read it but I believe with the help of social media, we could create something special. I need your help.

I want people to send in anecdotes and jokes about pharmacy. I would love to hear from community pharmacists, pre-regs, technicians, dispensers and counter staff. Also hospital, primary care, prison, academics, pharmacy journalists, students, GPs and even GP receptionists. I will add in some of my blogs too. I have no idea how I will publish it but that will be part of the adventure.

You can reply to this blog, via email mrdispenser@hotmail.co.uk, or Twitter @mrdispenser

I look forward to hearing from you and will keep you updated!

Tell your friends too!


GPS and Pharmacists working in partnership? Guest blog by Stephen Riley @pharmaste

The recent GMC study has shown that 5% of prescriptions contain prescribing errors and the DoH backed PINCER study found that Pharmacist-led interventions can substantially reduce common medication errors and are cost-effective. These studies support my own experiences in working with CCGs and GP Practices. I work as an independent provider of medicines management and optimisation services to CCGs and GP practices. One of my key roles is as Lead Pharmacist providing the complete medicines management service to a CCG in the North West who decided to contract out of the PCT in 2010 and commission their own service.

It has provided a great way to build a rapport with GP Practices and staff at all levels (Clinicians, Practice Nurses, Management and reception staff) and has also allowed us to develop partnership working with the GPs. As we are commissioned by the CCG directly we are not bound solely by the PCT agenda and purely cost cutting. Cost-effective prescribing is a factor, but we have also worked with practices to optimise therapies, reduce wasteful prescribing, increase prescribing of licensed therapies, reduce prescribing of unnecessary unlicensed specials, conduct safety audits and conduct face to face medication reviews.

I sit on the executive committee for the PDA union and worked on their Road Map project for Pharmacy. The essence is develop enhance clinical roles for Pharmacists, such as running clinics managing long term conditions (e.g. respiratory, hypertension, etc) or near patient testing (e.g. anticoagulation). These could be delivered via the Community Pharmacy network, by Community Pharmacists. A practice based Pharmacist role could be ideal for Primary Care Pharmacists to move into and work in a complimentary fashion to the essential role of Community Pharmacists.

I am standing for for the EPB in this year’s RPS elections and have joined with some other like minded candidates to work to provide a Bright Future for Pharmacy. Partnership working with GPs and other health professionals is essential If Pharmacy is to have a significant role, high profile impact in the new NHS structure and be effective and properly rewarded as part of the healthcare team. I would urge all RPS members to vote before noon on 01/06/12 and anyone to have a look at our face book group https://www.facebook.com/groups/353602354689304/, we plan to use it as a forum post elections. Together we can work towards a Bright Future for our profession.

OTC addiction (guest post by @zams123)

Guest post by @zams123

I t’s worrying how the majority of people in some areas have a problem with drug abuse and addiction. This problem in community pharmacy however can be very annoying.

For example, how many community pharmacists today are faced with frequent over-the-counter requests for co-codamol products? The same people keep coming in to buy co-codamol, solpadeine plus etc feeding the staff and pharmacist with more or less the same story: ‘I’ve run out of my prescription co-codamol 30/500mg tablets’, ‘its for my back pain, nothing else agrees with me’ or even ‘my doctor recommended it’… It becomes conflicting when we are put in a position to refuse the sale; customers kick off and become rude, complaints arise and go to headoffice department, but the end result is that they are going to buy the co-codamol product from another pharmacy using the same story again.

It can also be annoying that GP’s might not realise what our OTC licensing issues are and recommend patients to buy over the counter as it’s probably cheaper than on prescription.

This problem does not just apply to co-codamol, it’s other products too such as codeine linctus and kaolin and morphine. The frequent requests I had in my pharmacy for kaolin and morphine mixture were atrocious that I had to remove it off the shelf.

In my pharmacy we are recording on paper when we sell these products to suspected drug abusers. Apart from this, how else can we resolve issues with codeine addiction and drug misuse?

Fresh Pharmacist of Bel-Air

Now this is the story all about how

My life got flipped, turned upside down

And I’d like to take a minute just sit right there

I’ll tell you how I became the pharmacist of a town called Bel-Air

In West Yorkshire PCT born and raised

In the dispensary where I spent most of my days

Chilling out, dispensing, relaxing all cool

And all doing some chlaymdia screening outside of the school

When a couple of GPs said ‘we’re up in no good’

Started making trouble in my neighbourhood

I got in one little fight and my Area manager got scared

And said ‘you’re moving with your cluster manager in Bel-Air’

I begged and pleaded with her the other day

But she packed my MDS and sent me on my way

She gave me a kissin’ and she gave me my ticket

I put my ipod on and said I might as well kick it

I whistled for a delivery driver and when it came near

the License plate said ‘Fresh’ and had a pestle n mortar in the mirror

If anything I could say that this delivery van was rare

But I thought now forget it, yo home to Bel-Air

I pulled up to a pharmacy about seven or eight

And I yelled to the delivery driver ‘Yo, home smell you later’

Looked at my pharmacy I was finally there

To sit on my throne as the pharmacist of Bel-Air

Nomads (guest blog by @zams123)

Thanks to @zams123 for writing this blog

Nomads…also known as venalinks or usually blister pack dosette trays. We have 100 patients on them in our community pharmacy and I check 4 in a go so that’s actually 400 of them over a week!

I have a structured routine of managing the trays upstairs to managing the shop and dispensary downstairs in my pharmacy. However, the more busy the pharmacy gets, the checking process of nomads becomes trickier as it is a time consuming process.

A lot of healthcare professionals such as GP’s and receptionists don’t understand that this is a time consuming process. Especially when there are changes made to medicines. A prescriber will change it at the touch of a button on a computer, whereas the pharmacy staff require performing a surgical operation to the blister pack tray in order to make a change. I have encouraged receptionists and doctors to inform us ASAP if there are any changes made to medicines for tray patients, since recently a lack of communication by a GP resulted in a patient not receiving their medication on time.

It is very sympathetic when a tray patient is admitted to hospital, but this can be very frustrating if the pharmacy is not informed about it. The driver is unneccessarily wasting a trip to the patient’s house to try and deliver the tray. The medication is liable to change whilst the patient is in hospital, so if the pharmacy does not know, the pharmacist will check and seal 4 weeks of trays in advance…this will then lead to medicine wastage and extra manual work will take place to change the tray if any changes made.

Sometimes we aren’t even informed when the patient comes out of hospital until the day the patient runs out of medication. We need to chase up discharge summaries and request new prescriptions that need to be signed by a GP all less than 24 hours.

Checking trays can be physically stressful too. For example, your eyes are focused on every single tablet there is in the tray – this can be more eye straining when all the tablets are white! Basically at the end of the day I come home with red eyes. This process can also be physically stressful if you have to stand up and check – depending on how tall you are and the height of your checking bench, your back can be slouched and aches after a while.

Apologies if I put anyone off checking the trays! I just hope that communication improves between patients, GP’s, receptionists and pharmacists.

Dress to impress

Pharmacists are professionals and should dress as such. I have only come across a couple of pharmacists that still wear white lab coats at work. The majority wear smart attire.

We are told that it is important for us to look professional so that the patient will be more likely to listen and accept our advice. However, I have seen two GPs who wear jeans in their surgery and the patients don’t seem to mind.  Whilst I was a student I saw one locum pharmacist wear jeans and another wear a skirt and flip flops.

Some companies make their pharmacist wear a uniform e.g.  Tesco.  Some hospitals have a no tie and long sleeve shirt policy or a uniform. This is to minimise infections.

I rarely wear a tie at work and the only people that seem to care are my parents. The quality of my clothes is directly proportional to the amount of food that I spill on me at lunch. Be it Armani or Primani, yoghurt stains on black trousers are hard to explain.

Tell me what you think about our dress code.