Thursday, 29 December 2011

2011 - A year in numbers

Apologies for the lack of blogginess in the last few weeks. Any of you with any experience of community pharmacy at this time of year will know that all rational and logical thinking goes out of the window in an attempt to dispense four month's worth of prescriptions in four weeks....just in case we don't open again after the planned two day closure!

Anyway, I am back and in reflective mood. 2011 has been an amazing year for Barnton Pharmacy and in trying to sum it up I thought I would share some of the highlights in numbers.

1 rebrand and new look pharmacy
We think the new look works really well and gives a clean and professional finish. 

29 blog posts written 
Must do better in 2012

890 patients registered for the minor ailments service
and receiving consultations and advice free of charge for minor ailments from head lice to coughs and colds.

1231 bottles of fresubin over-ordered
Don't worry Hazel, you are forgiven, but I'm afraid it will be used as a learning example for years to come!

5 awards won:
Scottish Pharmacist Innovation & Change Award in February
Alphega Pharmacy regional award in May
Key Staff Award for Hazel in October
Alliance Healthcare Scottish Pharmacy of the Year in November
Alliance Healthcare UK Pharmacy of the Year in November

206 patients registered fof the new chronic medication service
A really good start to the service for us, but we now need to focus on making it business as usual for out patients with long term conditions.

89.7kg lost by people on our Lipotrim weight management programme
and hoping to sign up many more in the new year. The next blog will focus on the New Year's resolutions.

35 smokers helped to stop smoking
Well done to all of them and keep up the good work.

2 staff retired
We'd like to wish Evelyn and Margaret long and happy days in the sun enjoying their hard earned retirment

4 new staff members
Big welcomes this year to Willie, Megan, Oana and Prince who join the team.

1 Parliamentary mention

70,379 aspirin tablets counted and dispensed
if you believe the computer record!

117 flu jabs administered
Vaccines are still available and it is not yet too late to protect yourselves and your loved ones.

2 sets of broken ribs
Willie and Sally. Both well on the mend now.

almost 50,000 prescriptions dispensed to our wonderful customers.

Thanks to our customers for supporting us during 2011.
Leanne and I would like to wish them all a Happy and Healthy 2012 

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The 12 days of Christmas at Barnton Pharmacy

On the first day of Christmas, 
Barnton Pharmacy gave to me a prescription and some really great advice
On the second day of Christmas, 
Barnton Pharmacy gave to me two cold remedies
On the third day of Christmas, 
Barnton Pharmacy gave to me three hangover cures
On the fourth day of Christmas, 
Barnton Pharmacy gave to me four first aid products
On the fifth day of Christmas, 
Barnton Pharmacy gave to me five last minute present ideas
On the sixth day of Christmas, 
Barnton Pharmacy gave to me six scrummy skincare treats
On the seventh day of Christmas, 
Barnton Pharmacy gave to me seven reasons to get a flu jab
On the eighth day of Christmas, 
Barnton Pharmacy gave to me eight vitamins and minerals
On the ninth day of Christmas, 
Barnton Pharmacy gave to me nine stocking fillers
On the tenth day of Christmas, 
Barnton Pharmacy gave to me ten minutes to discuss stopping smoking
On the eleventh day of Christmas, 
Barnton Pharmacy gave to me eleven indigestion remedies
On the twelfth day of Christmas, 
Barnton Pharmacy gave to me twelve tips for a healthy 2012

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Alliance Healthcare Awards and a few changes in store.

It's been a bit of a week for Barnton Pharmacy.

Last Thursday Leanne and I went down to London for the Alliance Healthcare Pharmacy Awards where we were shortlisted for in Scottish Community Pharmacy of the the year category. We were delighted to win that award, especially given the other shortlised candidate runs a fantastic pharmacy - Alan Glaugh of John  A Smith Pharmacy - on the other side of Edinburgh.

The icing on the cake, however, was to walk away with the overall UK Community Pharmacy of the Year title as well - selected from the winners of all the awards on the evening. I guess you could view it as a "best of the the best" award, and a real achievement in pharmacy circles.

It was a great night for Scottish pharmacy all round with the hospital prize going to a team from NHS Glasgow and the retail prize going to John Connolly of Wishaw.

Buzzing with success and delighted with our awards, we headed back to Scotland on Friday after a very late night (and a bit of retail therapy on Oxford Street!)

On Sunday we rebranded our pharmacy - under the Alphega Pharmacy banner. The whole team mucked in (fuelled on bacon rolls) and really got the job done. Huge thanks to Willie, Hazel and Sandra and of course our long suffering partners Nick and Alex.

We hope you agree the results are impressive and befitting of the "award winning" title.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Handbags and Gladrags....London here we come!

We're off to London tonight for the Alliance Healthcare Pharmacy Awards. The handbags and the gladrags are packed and there may even be a bit of time for a manicure before the big event this evening.

Barnton Pharmacy are shortlisted in two categories*; "Scottish Community Pharmacy of the Year" and "Alphega Pharmacy UK Pharmacy of the Year"

We are really pleased that our achievements since March 2010 are being recognised and all the hard work we have put in seems to be paying off. However, we are often so busy looking forward that we forget to look back and celebrate exactly what we have achieved. I thought I would use this blogging chance to do just that.

Since March 2010 we have:
  • increased our prescription volume by about 20%
  • 20 times more patients signed up to the minor ailments service who consult us regularly for their health concerns.
  • a very successful smoking cessation service with excellent quit rates
  • improved our customer service - judging by the chocolates and cards we receive from our loyal seems to have.
  • helped many people lose weight through our weight management programme
  • delivered on our vision of offering great pharmaceutical care in the community.
None of this would have been possible if it were just Leanne and I on our own. Our dedicated pharmacy team have worked really hard (through some tough times) to help us deliver our goals and we are truly grateful for that.

The fact that both Leanne and I can disappear to London and leave Hazel, Sandra and Willie to run the show is a credit to them! Thank did I mention I've got a train to catch!

*Watch this space for whether we win or not.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Antibiotic Awareness Day

Some of my favourite sounding drugs are antibiotics. Is it wrong to have favourite drugs?
Moxifloxacin sounds to me like a character in a children's book, but is actually  fourth-generation synthetic fluoroquinolone antibacterial agent.
One of my favourite pharmacy jokes has an antibiotic as the punchline*. I know, pharmacy jokes....wrong! I definitely need to get out more.

So today is antibiotic awareness day which is aimed at raising awareness of the appropriate use of antibiotics in order to reduce antibiotic resistance which happens when antibiotics become ineffective against certain bugs, generally through inappropriate prescribing or use.

The main messages for today are to reduce inappropriate use and prescribing

Inappropriate use includes:
  • not completing a course of antibiotics as prescribed
  • skipping doses of antibiotics
  • not taking antibiotics at regular intervals
  • saving some for later
Inappropriate prescribing includes:
  • unnecessary prescription of antibiotics
  • unsuitable use of broad-spectrum antibiotics
  • wrong selection of antibiotics and inappropriate duration or dose of antibiotics
In short. Antibiotics are not always the answer. Take care. Not antibiotics!

*Q. What do you use an erythrotrap for?
A. To catch your erythromycin.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

My Dad died of lung cancer in 2007. It was horrible. From diagnosis to death was mercifully short, but it was still horrid. He was 65. He had not smoked for 15 years. He was extremely fit and had plenty to live for. It wasn't fair!

Lung cancer is the UK's biggest cancer killer, claiming the lives of more than 33,500 people in the UK every year - more than leukaemia, breast and prostate cancer combined - yet it receives a mere 3% of all money spent on cancer research in this country. Perhaps it is perceived as an "unsexy" cancer, or a self- inflicted cancer? Whatever the reason, the numbers don't stack up.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness month which aims to raise awareness of lung cancer and of the signs and symptoms of the disease and encourage those at risk to visit their GP.

What are the key symptoms of lung cancer?
  • A cough that does not go away after more than three weeks
  • Worsening or change of a long-standing cough
  • Repeated or persistent chest infections
  • Blood in the phlegm
  • Unexplained persistent breathlessness
  • Unexplained persistent tiredness or lack of energy
  • Unexplained persistent weight loss
  • Persistent chest and/or shoulder pain
  • Unexplained persistent hoarseness
  • Unexplained swelling of the face and neck
What are the top 5 myths about lung cancer?
Myth: Coughing up blood is the earliest sign of lung cancer
Fact: The first symptoms are often a persistent cough or persistent breathlessness
Myth: As a smoker, the damage is already done and there’s no point in giving up
Fact: Quitting at any stage reduces the risk of developing lung cancer and other diseases such as stroke or heart attack. Stopping smoking before middle age avoids most of the risk of smoking-related lung cancer.
Myth: Lung cancer is a male disease
Fact: In the 1950s, the ratio was 1 lung cancer case diagnosed in women for every 6 in men. That ratio is now 3 cases in women for every 4 in men.
Myth: Lung cancer is a death sentence
Fact: When lung cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, there are more treatment options and the chances of surviving it are greatly improved. When lung cancer is found at an early stage, treatment is 40 times more likely to be successful.
Myth: Lung cancer is only a smoker’s disease
Fact: Although smoking is the chief cause of lung cancer, around 1 in 10 cases are not linked to smoking.

So back to my dad. Nothing I have written here can change the fact that my dad died six weeks before my wedding and that he didn't live long enough to meet three of his six grandsons or the seventh grandchild due in February, but perhaps with more funding for research into lung cancer and its treatment, other families can have longer with their loved ones.

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is the ONLY charity dedicated to defeating lung cancer. They are an excellent source of support and information on this disease.

They could really do with your support this month.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Ask Your Pharmacist - we might even know the answer!

This week is "Ask Your Pharmacist" week.

So far this week, I have been asked a number of questions I wasn't expecting:
"Do you sell shoelaces?"
"Can you tell me how to get to Telford College?"
"Where do you keep your men's combs?"
Nothing will, however top the question I was asked when I worked in a supermarket pharmacy some years ago by a harassed shopper on Christmas Eve: "Do you stock turkeys?"!

But seriously....I have also been asked to show a patient how to use their asthma inhaler, I have been asked for advice on stopping smoking and losing weight. I have answered numerous questions about flu vaccinations and I have helped a lady who was "in a fankle" with her medication.

The idea behind "Ask Your Pharmacist" is to shift the focus from seeing your local pharmacy as a place for just getting your prescriptions dispensed to a centre for advice and information about general health and well being as well as medicines advice. The week is organised by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) who do a brilliant job of promoting and supporting the work of community pharmacy across the UK.

You might be surprised by the range and depth of knowledge available free of charge and without an appointment at your local pharmacy.

So go on: Ask Your Pharmacist - they might even know the answer!!

PS: We didn't have any turkeys or shoe laces. but we did have men's combs and we could help you find the local college!

Friday, 4 November 2011

When to use a food supplement?

  • Are you really busy at the moment and not eating properly?
  • Are you feeling under the weather or are you recovering from an illness?
  • Are you doing a lot of exercise and feel exhausted as a result?
  • Do you need a pick me up or energy boost?
  • Have you recently lost weight ?
  • Are you not cooking properly for yourself?
If so, you could be undernourished! We are constantly being told about obese Britain and how 70% of us in the UK are overweight, but did you know that around 3 million people in the UK are undernourished?

There are a number of causes for weight loss and undernourishment and serious causes need to be considered, but there are lots of more common reasons which may affect all of us at one time or another:
  • A reduced appetite perhaps after an illness or an operation
  • Stress can cause people to stop eating regular meals
  • Busy lifestyles can lead to food becoming less of a priority for some
  • Athletes undergoing training may not be receiving the correct nutrients to compenste for additional exercise
  • Older people may not require as much food, but care is needed to ensure that what is eaten is healthy and nutritional.
Being undernourished can lead to serious consequences. As well as feeling weak or tired it can lead to a reduced immune system which then means it takes longer to recover from illnesses. All of this can have a real affect on mood.

A healthy balanced diet should include a variety of fruit and vegetables, plenty of calcium rich foods, some carbohydrate and protein. if this is not always possible it may be worth considering dietary supplements such as Complan.

This supplements come in powder form and contain essential vitamins and minerals, calcium, iron and protein. They should be made up with whole milk and taken up to three times a day.

Come and speak to us at Barnton Pharmacy if you are worried about your weight and think you may need a supplement.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Itchy & Scratchy - dealing with eczema

At this time of year, most people find their skin is drier than normal, but what happens when that becomes a problem which won't go away?

Eczema is a long term dry skin condition which affects about 1 in 12 adults in the UK. It appears as dry or flaky skin anywhere on the body and can be very itchy.
Itching leads to scratching, which can lead to the skin breaking down, becoming cracked and sore and possibly infected.
There are a number of different types of eczema but essentially we can treat them all in a similar way. 

Emollient treatment
The mainstay of eczema treatment should be avoiding flare ups by regularly using an emollient product to trap water in the skin and also by avoiding triggers which cause flare ups.

There are many different emollients (including dermol, E45, oilatum and many more....) available from your local pharmacy but the key to treatment is regular use of lots of emollient.

In addition soap products should be avoided as these strip the skin of its natural oils. instead consider using a bath additive (e.g E45 bath or oilatum) to soak into the skin and trap even more moisture.

Steroid creams (e.g. hydrocortisone) may well still be needed for flare ups, but regular and frequent use of emollients can reduce the number of flare ups and so reduce the amount of steroids required which is much better in the long run.

Top tips for managing dry skin
  • Hoover often to reduce dust and therefore dust mites if these are a trigger for you.
  • Were cotton clothes which are much less irritant than other materials.
  • Use unperfumed washing powder and avoid fabric softeners.
  • At bath time, don't have the water too hot and pat dry with a towel afterwards rather than rubbing.
  • Drink lots of water every day
  • Apply emollients before and after swimming as chlorine can be a trigger for some people
  • The National Eczema Society website contains loads of really useful resources and practice advice for people with eczema and their families
Eczema in children
Itchy kids can be miserable. The same principles outlined above apply to treating children with eczema, but there are some great kids products available too.
E45 have teamed up with Peppa Pig to bring you Peppa's Big Bubble Bash. There are really useful questions and answers on the website as well as loads of games and interactive fun.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Worried about dementia?

Given that over 80,000 people in Scotland are living with dementia and that one in three people over 65 will die with dementia, I wonder why we are so reluctant to talk about it? Isn't it a worry that we spend eight times less on dementia research than cancer research and yet 40% of dementia patients are in long stay care settings often at huge cost to the public purse.

It reminds me of how we used to see cancer patients and palliative care. No one really spoke about it apart from in hushed tones. Often the person with the illness didn't know what was wrong with them or if they did they thought the worse but weren't given the right information. How far we have come in dealing with cancer. 

I am delighted that there is now a national dementia strategy and that the Scottish government appear to be taking this condition seriously. Hopefully things will change.

What is dementia?
Dementia is the progressive loss of power of the brain. There are many different types but the most common is Alzheimer's disease.

What are the symptoms?
Every person with dementia is different and how their illness affects them can depend on which areas of the brain are most damaged.

One of the most common symptoms if memory loss. It is important to remember that everyone forgets things sometimes!!!!!
However a person with dementia may forget the names of family members, or forget to turn the oven off. They may repeat the same question over and over and not know they are doing it. People with dementia may lose their sense of time, or awareness of which day it is.

Solving problems with dementia can be difficult and this can come across as confusion.
dementia can also affect personality and behaviour as well.

All of these symptoms can be very worrying and frustrating for you and your family.

Help is out there.
It is important to seek help early on. The sooner a diagnosis can be made, the better able we are to start planning for the future and accessing services, treatment and help and support. Medical treatments are available which may help some people and research is progressing all the time.
I was lucky enough to attend a training session last week with speakers from Alzheimer Scotland, and was really impressed with the work this organisation are doing. They offer loads of practical help and guidance for dementia patients, their friends and family including; understanding dementia, getting help with benefits and accessing community care.

If you are worried about your memory or that of a family member or friend, Alzheimer Scotland has a free 24 hour helpline 0808 808 300

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Getting older doesn't need to be a pain.

My mum turned 70 in August and a fine celebration we had!  Three score years and ten is a real landmark and one that deserves to be celebrated, but it shouldn't necessarily be the line in the sand between trainers and slippers, or tracksuits and cardies!

To celebrate this milestone, my mum bought herself a new bike.
On paper this may seem a little foolish or a symbol of age defying lunacy, but if I tell you that my mum has ridden a bike almost every day for the last 30 years and normally cycles the couple of miles from home to the gym for a swim (at 6am) and back, it becomes clearer. Added to that, her previous bike was  probably 25 years old, so a new bike doesn't seem such a silly idea after all!

A week or so after the birthday celebrations, I got a phone call from mum saying "Sal, I've done something silly. I've broken my arm, falling off the bike". Oh no! What now? I thought. Months of pain, rehab loss of independance, and life may possibly take a different turn for mum and those around her.

Six weeks on and I am pleased to report that she is almost back to full fitness. In fact she spent last weekend wrangling all of her six grandsons at one time or another. We talked about her rapid recovery and concluded that a large part of it can be put down to lifelong fitness, a healthy lifestyle and hard work with her rehab exercises.

I thought it might be useful to give you some top tips from the experts on how to keep your bones and joints strong and healthy as you get older:
  • Eat a well balanced diet
    Include lots of calcium and Vitamin D to help the calcium be absorbed properly.
  • Take regular exercise
    Exercise is proven to help keep bones strong.
  • Stop smoking
    It's never too late to stop. There is loads of support available to help you quit.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
    Too much alcohol is harmful to bones and may increase your risk of a fall.
  • Don't ignore joint pain
    Try supplements such as glucosamine or seek advice about pain killers.

At Barnton Pharmacy this month, many of our bone and joint products are on special offer and we are always available for advice on your health and wellbeing.

All that remains now is for mum to get back on her bike and then there'll be no stopping her!!!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Time for a seasonal boost

 The leaves are falling, mornings are almost dark. It's the long week before the half term holidays and we are all feeling a bit under par.
Now is the time to boost your immune system and get yourself in tip top form for the winter ahead.

Here are a few tips from Barnton Pharmacy to

  1. Consider starting echinacea to give you and additional boost.
  2. there is lots of fantastic seasonal veggies around in all those autumn colours. They make great soups to put in the freezer for a warming winter lunch.
  3. Think about a vitamin supplement at this time of year. Our friendly team can advise you on which one would best suit you.
  4. As the days get shorter (much much shorter in Scotland) we need to boost our vitamin D reserves. try and get at least 15 minutes of daylight every day. Take a walk around the block at lunchtime. Not only will you feel a boost during the afternoon, but you will sleep better at night time.
  5. What about a flu jab? Free if you are eligible on the NHS, or come and see us in the pharmacy if you want to protect yourselves and your family privately.
Watch out for a future post about what to do if you do get a cold, but hopefully if you follow some of this advice now, you will be better able to fight off those bugs!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Time to get your flu jab

The flu season is fast approaching and this can have a huge impact on you and your family. As we all read about last year, flu can even kill.

If you are pregnant, over 65 or suffer from certain long term conditions including asthma, or care for someone who is frail or vulnerable, then you will be eligible for a flu vaccine on the NHS. Contact your local surgery to find out when their clinics are.

There are plenty more of us who are not covered by the NHS, but who would find it really tough if we got the flu. I mean proper -can't lift your head off the bed, legs like lead, feel like death flu and not a cold! Would you be able to care for your loved ones? Would you lose money from your employement? At the coalface, the economic impact of lost working days and lack of vitality in the recovery phase are all too familiar to individuals and employers alike. The recovery phase can significantly impair performance at work and play for several weeks or more

You can easily protect yourself and your family. Barnton Pharmacy are once again offering private flu vaccinations. The cost is £15.

·         The flu jab is suitable for most people (except those with an egg allergy)
·         It is very effective
·         It is very safe. Reactions are rare
·         It has to be repeated every year
·         Early vaccination means you will be covered for the whole flu season.

Flu vaccinations will be available from 3rd October and is a drop-in service with no appointment being needed at the pharmacy. The service will be available six days a week including Saturday mornings.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require further information on this or any of the services available from Barnton Pharmacy. Give us a call on 0131 339 3449 or email us on
We would be delighted to discuss your requirements.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Asthma - be in control

I run an asthma clinic in our local surgery every couple of weeks, where I review all the asthmatic patients to make sure they are well controlled and to make changes to their medication if needed. Pharmacists writing prescriptions? Yes - but that's a whole different post!

A young lady came to the clinic about a month ago with really poor asthma control. She had ordered 30 reliever inhaler in the previous 12 months!!! Well controlled asthmatics may go through two to four of these in a year. Her asthma control worried me and were affecting her life. She hadn't participated in sport for months and dared not leave the house without an inhaler.

This is clearly not a good situation to be in and indeed there is no need for it. We now accept that a well controlled asthmatic should be able to live virtually with no symptoms of their asthma if they are well controlled with their medication.
Asthma UK does a fantastic job of promoting the health and welbeing of the 5.4 million asthmatics living in the UK.
They recommend asthmatics assess their control with three simple questions. In the last month:
  1. Have you had difficulty sleeping because of your asthma symptoms (including cough)?
  2. Have you had your usual asthma symptoms during the day (cough, wheeze, chest tightness or breathlessness)?
  3. Has your asthma interfered with your usual activities - eg housework, work, school etc?
If you've answered 'yes' to any of the above questions, it may be that your asthma is not as well controlled as it could be. It's time to make an appointment for a check up.

So back to the young lady in my asthma clinic. I decided to start her on a new preventer inhaler, trained her to use it properly with  the help of a simple little gadget which I love called the In Check Dial. Two weeks after our initial meeting, she came back to the clinic a changed person. She was delighted with her asthma control, had only used her reliever inhaler twice since her first visit and has played hockey for the first time in months.

A good result! 

How to take charge of your pain

Probably unsurprising that the most common complaint we get asked for advice about is pain and painkillers for pain!

Getting the right painkillers is not as straightforward as picking the one you like the sound of or the one you saw advertised on the telly last night.
You will get the most from a painkiller if you take the right one for your pain and take it at the right times.
Paracetamol based painkillers (including paracetamol and co-codamol) are great for mechanical pain, general aches and pains and fevers. Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs are great if your pain is caused by inflammation such as sprains and strains.
We often recommend taking the two in combination. The table below details the best way to do this:
If you have any questions about your pain, how to live with chronic pain or how to get the best from your medications, please ask at Barnton Pharmacy. We can also refer you on the a range of other healthcare professionals who can help you manage your pain.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Learning from experience

During my 17 (ahem) years as a pharmacist, I can definitely say I learn something new every day...and most of what I learn helps me to be a better pharmacist.

Much of my learning comes from what my patients tell me from their own experiences and the rest of it comes from personal experience.

When I had a wisdom tooth extracted and the socket became infected, I found I became much more sympathetic towards patients with tooth ache. It REALLY hurts by the way. The sort of pain which doesn't go away and makes you unable to think about or focus on anything else.

Before I had my son, I thought I gave pretty good advice to pregnant ladies and new mums. Now I know what they really mean when they talk about the pain of breast feeding and the experience of spraying the walls in your local cafe with breast milk because you can't quite wrestle newborn to nipple and maintain modesty when you've only had three hours sleep. I can also add retained placenta, indigestion, piles and sleep deprivation to the learning list thanks to pregnancy and childbirth.

So on Wednesday morning, when I left the house with my small son to walk him to nursery before I went on to work, I didn't know what new experiences I would be able to add to the list. I am fairly sure that getting knocked over by a taxi whilst crossing a road wasn't the first thing to spring to mind!

So what have I learnt from this experience that will make me a better pharmacist?
  • Paramedics, A&E staff, hospital midwives and the Sick Kids in Edinburgh all do a brilliant job at picking us up and putting us back together again.
  • A parent's first and over-riding instinct is to protect their child - even if that involves shoving them out of the way of harm.
  • Getting hit by a ton of German engineering really doesn't hurt much at the time!!
  • Arnica works for bruises.
  • Getting hit by a ton of German engineering really does hurt a lot after 24 hours.
  • Paracetamol must be taken regularly if it is to properly help with pain
  • Getting hit by a ton of German engineering hurts even more after 48 hours.
  • Being pregnant means only being able to take regular paracetamol. That doesn't cut it!
  • Avoid coughing, sneezing or laughing if you have cracked ribs.
In future I will try to look for easier ways to fill my CPD record and maintain my registration as a pharmacist, but I hope my patients appreciate the lengths some pharmacists go to in order to be able to expand their learning.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Telecare. Telewhat????

Do you have an elderly relative? Perhaps you care for someone vulnerable or worry about a neighbour or friend who does not seem to be coping as well as they could.

Read on. Telecare could be part of the solution.

So what is telecare?
Put simply, telecare is a service which provides people with the support to help them lead independent lifestyles. Telecare equipment makes it possible for them to call for help and assistance when needed by linking vulnerable people to monitoring and response centres 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

However, telecare is more than just a personal alarm service.

Depending on the needs of the individual, the service can be used for a wide range of support such as:
  • using a simple touchscreen to link up with internet sites or call friends and relatives,
  • alert help if you have a fall
  • monitor and alert when a tap or the gas has been left on
  • video or phone services to reduce isolation
  • exit sensors to prevent wandering
The overall aim being to help people to remain living independently in their own homes for as long as possible.

How can I find out more?
Edinburgh Council is supporting telecare and will fund or partially fund the service.

If you are interested in finding out more, Cramond & Barnton Community Council have organised a Telecare event to be held at Cramond Kirk on Thursday 22nd September from 11.00am to 3.00pm.

Telecare will be demonstrated and explained in more detail and there will be the opportunity to ask questions to find out whether telecare is for you or your loved ones.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Know your numbers

Next week is "Know your numbers" week. The week is the brainchild of  the Blood Pressure Association and their annual awareness campaign. It encourages adults across the UK to know their blood pressure numbers and take the necessary action to reach and maintain a healthy blood pressure. 

Barnton Pharmacy will be offering free blood pressure checks next week and also offering advice on how to get your blood pressure to a healthy range.

Before then , I thought you might be interested in reading some facts and figures about blood pressure and what it all means.

  • High blood pressure is the main risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease. There is also increasing evidence that it is a risk factor for vascular dementia.
  • High blood pressure is a level consistently at or above 140mmHg and/or 90mmHg.
  • Approximately 16 million people in the UK have high blood pressure.
  • 30 per cent of women and 32 per cent of men have high blood pressure.
  • Up to the age of 64 there are higher rates of men with high blood pressure than women.
  • People with high blood pressure are three times more likely to develop heart disease and stroke and twice as likely to die from these as people with a normal blood pressure.
  • Approximately 62,000 unnecessary deaths from stroke and heart attacks occur due to poor blood pressure control
  • High blood pressure rarely has any symptoms, the only way for people to know if they have the condition is to have their blood pressure measured
  • Approximately one third of people with high blood pressure do not know that they have it.
  • More than 90 per cent of people with high blood pressure who are receiving treatment are not controlled to 140/90 mmHg.
  • Most people with high blood pressure who need to take medications, will need to take two or more to ensure that their blood pressure is lowered down to a target of 140/85mmHg
  • Among women, levels of high blood pressure increase as income decreases.
  • The risks increase as blood pressure rises, whether you have high blood pressure or a normal blood pressure – between the age of 40 and 70, for every rise of 20mmHg systolic or every 10mmHg diastolic the risk of heart disease and stroke doubles; for the range 115/75 up to 185/115mmHg

Monday, 5 September 2011

Head Lice and nits.

The days are getting shorter, there is a distinct nip in the air, the kids have gone back to school.....then they come home with head lice! Some things are as certain as the changing seasons, and head lice is one of them!
What you may not know is that there have been some changes in how we manage the little critters these days.

What are head lice?
Head lice are insects, together with their eggs, that can infest the  hair. It is a minor condition but, if not treated, it can cause severe itching and scratching, sometimes leading to bacterial infections such as impetigo. Mature lice are approximately 3mm long and have a brown, beige or black appearance, often camouflaged by the hair. Lice cling to hair near the scalp and are usually found behind the ears or at the nape of the neck.
Lice cannot jump, fly or swim but transmission occurs easily through head to head contact. It is thought that girls are affected more than boys because girls huddle together more when they play.

Contrary to popular belief, schools do not conduct checks for head lice but neither do children with head lice need time away from school. Lice can infest regardless of the length of hair, its cleanliness and standards of personal hygiene. Lice are unlikely to be transmitted by sharing hair combs, hair brushes, towels or clothes because they cannot survive more than 12 hours away from a host.

How to detect lice?
The best way to  find out if someone has head lice is by wet combing the hair.
  1. Wash hair and apply conditioner. Detangle with an ordinary comb.
  2. Using a detection comb (available from good pharmacies!), divide the hair into sections and comb all the way through to the ends of the hair.
  3. After each stroke check he comb for lice. Use a white tissue or cloth to wipe the comb.
  4. Work methodically through the hair, section by section until the whole head is examined.
  5. If you find live lice, remember to check all the heads in the house!
    Treatment options
We only treat when there are live lice found.
Don't treat anyone "just in case"
Most of the head lice treatments available now contain dimeticone or isopropyl myrisate, rather than the traditional pesticides. They work by essentially suffocating and head lice until they die!
All of the treatment sare available in a variety of forms such as shampoos, sprays and lotions.

The staff at Barnton PHarmacy can advise you on which products are most suitable for your family and we may even be able to treat you free of charge under the minor ailments service,

Thursday, 1 September 2011

When the going gets tough.....

I spent a rainy Sunday afternoon with my sister at the Edinburgh festival watching Ruby Wax & Judith Owen's -Losing It . My Sister blogs brilliantly about it. The bottom line of the show is Wax's campaign to bust the stigma attached to mental illness which affects 1 in 4 of us.
Celebrities are not alone in trying to raise awareness of mental health issues. NICE, have recently released guidance aiming to improve the detection of common mental health problems in primary care, in particularly anxiety and depression. This obviously has implications for pharmacy.

At Barnton Pharmacy we are well equipped to talk to you about mental illness. We have a selection of self-help resources available, and a private consultation room where our pharmacists can discuss your condition with you in confidence. Should you require medication, we will discuss treatment options, and manage your expectations regarding side effects.

Here are some tips for maintaining mental well being. We hope you find them useful.
  • Keep physically active
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet
  • Quit smoking (we can help!)
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Manage stress
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Value yourself and others
  • Talk about your feelings
  • Keep in touch with friends and family
  • Care for others
  • Do something creative
  • Take a break
  • Ask for help.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Drug alert

Nurofen Plus mix up

Fortunately, these incidents are very rare.
The details as to exactly what has happened in this instance are as yet unclear and will doubtless be subject to much scrutiny over coming days and weeks.

We are very fortunate to have a rapid response system for drug alerts in the UK whereby alerts like this are circulated by fax and email to all community and hospital pharmacies rapidly and efficiently. This means that stock can be quarantined and further spread of rogue batches of tablets can be checked.

All community pharmacies will be checking and quarantining stock as a matter of urgency to protect the public.
The question mains as to whether permanent damage will have been done to Nurofen plus, the brand....only time will tell.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Erectile Dysfunction - time for action

"Maybe its because I'm tired"
"I've got a lot on my mind"

No more excuses!

40% of men over 40 suffer from some degree of erectile dysfunction (ED), so if you think you may do too, you're not alone.
ED happens when not enough blood can get into or stay in the penis long enough to make it sufficiently hard to allow an erection and sexual activity.
Lilly (who make Cialis) have a really useful website with more information about ED

You've probably heard the jokes about the little blue diamonds, viagra and other pills to treat ED, well now  - through a new service at  Barnton Pharmacy - you can access these treatments without having to go to your GP.

Using our confidential and convenient online service you will be screened by a doctor from medescribe and if suitable for you, a private prescription will be issues. You can collect your treatment at Barnton Pharmacy or we will even deliver it within the EH4 postcode area. Your tablets are in discreet Barnton Pharmacy  and you can be assured you are receiving top quality legitimate medicines.

How does it work?
  1. Access the webprescriptions site through our Barnton Pharmacy website
  2. Register. This only takes about 5 minutes and all your details will be stored for future use.
  3. Complete the online questionnaire (choose from the list of medical conditions).
  4. Questionnaire is then reviewed by a health professional at medescribe
  5. If appropriate a private prescription is sent to Barnton Pharmacy*
  6. Pay online - nothing more to pay in the pharmacy
  7. We will dispense your prescription and have it ready for you to collect - or even deliver if you have an EH4 postcode.

*if not appropriate, you will be contacted by a health professional from Medescribe

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Self management - what's it all about?

Over 2 million people in Scotland are living with a long term condition such as asthma, diabetes or mental health problems.
That's about 40% of us.
Self management is about enjoying life with a long term condition, not about enduring it. It's about you being in charge of your illness.

There are loads of reasons why this makes sense, but the the Self Management website lists just a few:
  • Life can be better with self management.  Being told you have a condition for which there may be no cure can be devastating.  Individuals respond in individual ways.  It can often have a profound impact on a person’s well-being and self-esteem.
  • People try to cope as best they can with the support they have.  But frequently they do not have the information or skills to manage their condition well.  It is often difficult to make well informed decisions about their life; let alone make plans for the future.
  • Together with health professionals and others who provide support, self management helps people to make decisions that are right for their life.
At Barnton Pharmacy we firmly believe in self management and in terms of your medicines this means being informed about them, knowing when to take them to get the best out of them and what to expect in terms of side effects or interactions with other medicines.

Our team are on hand to answer your questions so that you can get on with enjoying life!

Friday, 5 August 2011

All change for herbal remedies

Since 1st May 2011, all herbal medicines on sale have needed a to be licensed.
This should ultimately lead to improved safety for all of us and we can have confidence in the products we choose to buy and take.

For the companies who manufacture herbal medicines it has meant some tough choices and a huge investment in order to decide which products to apply for licenses for.

Most people in Edinburgh will have heard of Napier's the Herbalists and many of you will have used the services of their herbalists and therapists or visited their shops.

What you may not know is that some of their products are now available in pharmacies - including Barnton Pharmacy. As a result of the changes in licensing requirements, Napiers decided to license some of their excellent products and also to make them more widely available through selected pharmacies.

We have had some excellent feed back on the products we stock. Here are just a few.

Napier's Sweet Dreams Herbal Remedy contains passion flower, Jamaica dogwood, valerian root, hops  and scullcap

It is great for those who have trouble getting off to sleep and is also useful if you get to sleep fine, but wake after a couple of hours.
There is no chance of addiction and you will have no residual tiredness the next day.

Napier's Elixir of Echinacea is another best seller.
Containing echinacea, fumitory and wild indigo it will help your body fight back from infection and relieve symptoms of catarrh in the nose and throat.
It is great to use when you have a cold.

We also have herbal teas including Napier's nursing tea which is great for breast-feeding mums and if you can't find what you are looking for we can generally order it in from Napiers within a couple of days.