Monday 4 August 2014

A pharmacist's view of the Commonwealth Games

In case you missed it, the Commonwealth Games came to an end in Glasgow yesterday. What a fantastic experience for athletes, for Glasgow and for the Commonwealth.
I have been delighted to play my own small part as a volunteer. For the last couple of weeks I have been working shifts in the pharmacy which is located in the polyclinic within the athletes village.

Here are a few things I've learnt from my time as a Clyde-Sider:

  1. Stamina is a key requirement. An early shift means early with a capital "E" - Leaving home at 5.30am and a late shift finished way past my bedtime!
  2. True multidisciplinary working is easy when you are all under one roof. The doctors wander into the pharmacy for advice or a chat and we can check test results and introduce a patient to a physiotherapist just by walking a few yards.
  3. Even super- human athletes can be felled by hayfever during a Scottish summer!
  4. Volunteering is good for the soul. I have met colleagues from across the country all who have given up their time to do this role. All united by our workforce uniforms. It is a great leveller.
  5. The commonwealth games serves a vital role for the commonwealth member countries. Offering access to preventative dental and optical care when these facilities may not be easily available at home.
  6. The pharmacy has (amongst other things) been reponsible for dishing out close to 40000 condoms during the last two weeks!
Normal service will resume for me tomorrow. It has been great to be part of this and I would recommend it to anyone else who is looking for a new challenge.

It is only 1338 until the next Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

I wonder if they will need pharmacist volunteers?

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Coeliac Awareness week

This week is Coeliac Awareness week, supported by the charity Coeliac UK.

What is Coeliac Disease?
  • A lifelong autoimmune disease caused by intolerance to gluten
  • 1 in 100 people have the condition
  • Symptoms include bloating, diarrhoea, nausea, wind, constipation, tiredness, headaches, sudden or unexpected weight loss (but not in all cases), hair loss and anaemia
  • Once diagnosed, it is treated by following a gluten-free diet for life
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis is the skin manisfestation of coeliac disease.
This year's awareness campaign focuses on the availability of gluten-free food in shops and supermarkets.

What’s it about?

Sticking to a gluten free diet is the only treatment for coeliac disease. This campaign asks supermarkets to sign up to a "Gluten-free Guarantee" which means having eight core gluten-free items available in their stores so that you can manage your condition more easily. 

New pharmacy Gluten Free Food Service
People diagnosed with coeliac disease can receive staple food items on prescription on the NHS. There is a new service in Scotland which allows these gluten free foodstuffs to be obtained directly from the pharmacy, without having to see you GP. It's a great service and cuts out the possibility of mistakes being made with prescriptions, allows slightly more flexibility for people in terms of the products they can use and hopefully offers great service and care for people with coelliac disease.

To find out more about this service you can read about it over at NHS inform, or pop in to Barnton Pharmacy and out friendly team will answer your questions and get you set up for the gluten free food service.

Wednesday 30 April 2014

A rose-tinted world

Despite the rain, the world is looking a little brighter from my side today.

I've got new specs and they are pink!
My two small children like pulling my glasses off my face and so I tend to have wonky glasses, buckled and bent. It was time for a new pair, but I resent paying hundreds of pounds for new glasses at my opticians. 

The best bit of all though is that I got my glasses at Barnton Pharmacy and they were only £57!!!

We have teamed up with PharmaOptical to offer you prescription glasses and sunglasses at a fraction of the prices you can pay at your own optician.

Our prices are REALLY competitive and offer you the choice to get a spare pair, a set of glasses to go with an outfit for a special occasion,  a replacement for the specs you lost, a new pair of prescription shades for you holidays or just a treat because you are worth it!

It is really simple:

  • Bring in you current glasses prescription. Your prescription needs to be dated within the last two years. Your optician has to give you a copy of your prescription after your eye test.
  • Choose your frames from our range of contemporary and classic designs in four price bands.
  • Decide what sort of lens you need. We will take a quick measurement for the glasses.
  • We process your order. Your new glasses will be delivered back to Barnton Pharmacy in 2-3 days.
  • We can make any minor adjustments for you here as well.

Wednesday 23 April 2014

World Malaria Day

Malaria is horrible.  It kills people.
In 2005 I was lucky enough to attend a conference for pharmacy students in Ghana. One of my friends did not make it home alive to his native Macedonia. He contracted malaria and died. He was not able to purchase the recommended antimalarial tablets in his home country. I spent my last day in Ghana with him. His death was preventable. 
All malaria deaths are preventable.

World Malaria Day takes place this Friday, 25th April 2014. Through this campaign the World Health Organisation aims to eliminate malaria world wide. This is a big task and has come a long way in the past decade but we are not there yet. Malaria still kills an estimated 627 000 people every year, mainly children under 5 years of age in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2013, 97 countries had on-going malaria transmission.
Every year, more than 200 million cases occur; most of these cases are never tested or registered. Emerging drug and insecticide resistance threaten to reverse recent gains.
In 2013 there were 59 reported cases of malaria in Scotland, brought back from travellers to areas where malaria is present.
Although these numbers are not great they should act as a reminder to us all to get the right advice on malaria before you go.
Advice for travellers
There is no vaccine available to prevent malaria. However, there are antimalarial tablets which can provide protection. .
All travellers to malarious areas should follow the ABCD of malaria prevention:

  • Awareness of risk – know the malaria risk for the country you’re visiting.
  • Mosquito Bite prevention – take practical measures to avoid mosquito bites, including bed nets, repellent and insecticide.
  • Chemoprophylaxis – take country-specific anti-malarial tablets.
  • Diagnosis and treatment - know the signs and symptoms of malaria and the importance of prompt treatment.
Further advice is available on the fitfortravel website - which is a great online resource if you are heading off travelling.  Remember we have a travel clinic at Barnton Pharmacy. Call 0131 339 3449 for more information.

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Chronic Medication Service - is it for you?

Do you have a long term condition which requires you to take medication daily such as high blood pressure, asthma or osteoporosis?

The Chronic Medication Service (terrible name for a great service) allows you to register with your chosen pharmacy in order to receive pharmaceutical care. For many people this will simple formalise what you have always done.  You have a question about your medication or are concerned about side effects or what medicines you can buy if you have a cold; you ask your pharmacist for help.

What this service allows the pharmacy to do for the first time is keep an electronic record of care given (in the same way your GP does) and share information with your GP if required. 

Another aspect of this service is serial dispensing. This part of the service is for you if your medication rarely changes and you are very settled on your tablets. Your doctor can sign you off for up to a year (normally after your annual check up) and you then simply come to the pharmacy every couple of months for your medication. No repeat prescriptions - no hassle.

If you want to no more about the chronic medication service - call in to Barnton Pharmacy and our friendly team will let you know if it is the right service for you. 

Monday 10 March 2014

I must be Honking mad!

I am sure many of  you are thinking I have definitely lost the plot for lots of different reasons, but if I was to say that I will be crossing the Forth Road Bridge in tartan and then white water rafting the River Tay in March, I am pretty sure you will think I have totally taken leave of my senses.

Well if I say its all for charity, does that improve things?

Have you heard of Sport Relief? Of course you have! 
Have you heard of the Team Honk Relay? Maybe not. Allow me to explain. 

  • The Team Honk Blogger Relay started in Lands End on the 12th January 2014 and finishes in John O Groats on the 23rd March 2014. The idea is to harness the power of social media and the relay consists of bloggers from one end of the country to the other.
  • #teamhonkrelay involves over 200 bloggers, their friends and families in a route that zig zags up the UK taking in 38 regional teams.
  • In terms of modes of transport, you name it we have thought of it: pushchair pushes, roller blading across the Humber, boating round Bristol, #Honkopoly around London, fancy dress, onesies, bikes, scooters, planes, hiking, rafting and mountain climbing.
  • As the relay approaches Scotland, I'm beginning to get a bit nervous. The efforts of loads of bloggers in England and Wales has so far raised a mighty 22,499 before even getting to Scotland. We will really have to do our bit to raise as much as possible in our part of the world.
Next week, Fionoutdoors will pick up the baton at the border and cycle it to Edinburgh. The baton will then travel over the forth road bridge in style (think tartan, think onesies, think scooters, think....actually maybe time to stop thinking!) with me and a gang of bloggers including Ellen from In a bundance, Donna from Mummy central and on to Aberfeldy for some white water rafting (in March!!) before heading up a Munro and finishing up tired, but elated in John 'Groats on Sunday 23rd March.

Please sponsor me by clicking here to go to the Scottish Honkers fundraising page 

If you need any  more convincing.  Here's what your money will do:
  • £1 could provide a hot meal for a child in the UK living in extreme poverty.
  • £5 could pay for a mosquito net to protect a mother and her baby in Africa from contracting malaria while they sleep.
  • £10 could enable an older person in the UK who just lost someone they love to attend a group activity.
  • £25 could run a sports session for disabled children in the UK, giving them the chance to play with other young people.
  • £100 could feed 200 children living on the streets in India for one day.
  • £300 could provide a water point in the slums of Tanzania, giving hundreds of families access to safe, clean water.
  • £500 could provide six months of support for a young person in the UK with mental health issues.

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Dementia Friendly Barnton & Cramond

I love a good brainstorm, a flip chart and some post-it notes. It must be something to do with longstanding love of stationary! More than that I got really excited at the ideas generated during the first dementia friendly Barnton & Cramond forum meeting held in February. 

The Dementia friendly forum has come about to try make the community of Barnton and Cramond a a dementia friendly environment. This means making our community a place: 

  • In which it is possible for the greatest number of people with dementia to live a good life.
  • Where people with dementia are enabled to live as independently as possible and to continue to be part of their community
  • Where they are met with understanding  and given support where necessary

The first meeting was really well attended by members of our community representing all backgrounds from health to business, carers to the council. Our wee community will be one of the pilots for making Edinburgh's a dementia friendly city.

We finished our first meeting by agreeing the following objectives, but would love to hear from you if you would like to be involved, think we have missed anything or want to help us move forward with our aims in any way.

  • Raise awareness of dementia in Barnton and Cramond to help reduce stigma
  • Signposting to easily accessible information on resources for people with dementia in the local area.
  • Encourage people who may have dementia to seek help early for a timely diagnosis
  • Seek views of people with dementia, their carers and families.
  • Promote health lifestyles for people with dementia
  • Recognise local businesses and services as “dementia friendly” by developing a charter and training framework.
  • Identified gaps in services either social or health will be addressed where possible to improve care and support for patients and their carers
  • Showcase our work to other areas as a pathfinder in Edinburgh’s target to become a Dementia Friendly City