Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Pharmacy and the Olympics

At Barnton HQ we are getting very excited about the Olympics. On Friday we set off en famille to London to soak up the sights and sounds of this once in a lifetime adventure. We are going to see the rowing, beach volleyball and some hockey in the Olympic Park. Our children cannot quite "get" what it is all about, but I hope they will look back and be pleased to be able to say they were there.

I thought it would be interesting to have a look around at what impact the Olympics will have on the world of pharmacy.

The Olympic pharmacy services will provide a service to around 200,000 including athletes, officials, press and support teams during the olympics and paralympics. Quite a feat! The figures are incredible:
There will be approximately 17,000 people residing in the Olympic and Paralympic Village in London. Each of the pharmacies will dispense prescriptions written by local UK doctors and for over 1000 visiting team doctors from 205 different countries for the Olympic Games and a smaller number for the Paralympic Games. In addition to catering to the specialist medicine requirements of elite athletes, the pharmacy staff will be involved in providing information to athletes about drugs restricted in sport, with a comprehensive specialist medicines information service provided for the Games.

There are about 100 pharmacist volunteers manning the pharmacies at the Olympic villages. David Mottram is blogging about his experiences at as volunteer. He seems to be surprised at how often he needs to replenish the stock of free condoms!

My community pharmacy colleagues in London have been advised by the National Pharmacy Association to make the most of the Olympics by considering extending their opening hours and upskilling their knowledge on sports medicine. There will inevitably be disruption to "normal Service" and deliveries may be out of hours, but I am certain my colleagues in London will innovate and get through this very special time.

All the learning from London 2012 will be great for Scotland when we host the commonwealth games in Glasgow in 2014, but for now it is all eyes on London.

Come on Team GB! Do us proud!!!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Life begins at 40

As many of you will know, I had a big birthday recently.
As if turning 40 wasn't bad enough, every birthday card screamed it in big numbers, some even came with badges. There were balloons, streamers, banners and even a cake!!!
So I got over that, and I thought I could quietly enjoy the rest of my 41st year without fanfare, but sadly not so.

A letter arrived last week from NHS 24 and Healthier Scotland telling me that "Life begins at 40" and that this is a new service which can help me think about different areas of my life and how they might affect my health and well being now and in the future. Brilliant!

I was invited to complete an assessment. I chose to do it online, but could have done it over the phone and in any language I wanted.
So I thought I'd give it a go......purely so I could let you know the results*. How kind am I?

After logging in you get the option of answering questions in four categories:
  • How you treat your body
  • How you are feeling in yourself
  • How you can stay well
  • Things in your life that affect you
The questions are pretty much as you would expect and after each section you are given access to masses of resources ranging from how to reduce the amount of salt in your diet to help with employment and money issues.

It is clear that a huge amount of work has gone into setting up this service and I am certainly impressed by the volume of information available-which can be accessed without having a password - but I am concerned that a huge amount of money will have been spent on targeting a relatively small number of people (those who turn 40! ) and like most of these things, the people who need the advice the most are likely to be those who access the service the least.

*If you are really interested in the results, you'll have to speak to me directly!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Palliative Care: Care when you need it most

This fortnight I am on call as the Palliative Care pharmacist for Lothian. When we signed up to the scheme last year, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. We attended a training session covering which drugs can go into syringe drivers together, what doses of painkillers are comparable and the logistics of the scheme. We agreed to stock a core list of drugs used in palliative care and also signed up to be on call on a rota with eight other pharmacies.

The aims of the palliative care network in Lothian are to:
  • Allow timely access to palliative care drugs for patients being cared for at home
  • Provide quality information regarding palliative care drugs to patients, carers and other health care professionals
  • Support and maintain a network of "palliative care" community pharmacies in NHS Lothian and liaise with other health care professionals on palliative care issues to ensure ongoing excellence.
The Scottish Government produced a forward thinking paper a number of years ago - Living and Dying Well which has prompted a huge amount of good work for patients with conditions which cannot be cured. Much of the work is around anticipating what a person may need and planning their care. In Lothian we are fortunate enough to have two fantastic hospices, Marie Curie and St Columba's. Their teams work across primary and secondary care and with all sectors to give patients and their families the best quality of life for however long that may be. It is an excellent example of great communication and a commitment to deliver top quality care.

The network of pharmacies in Lothian, I think, was the first in Scotland and is now a well used model across the country. Each call out has been different. One has needed my specialist knowledge, one merely a signposting exercise to another pharmacy on a Saturday evening, and the last was to provide a package of drugs used to treat the symptoms which come on in the last days of life. Each of those call outs has hopefully made a difference to those patients and their familes at a time when there are so many other things to worry about. Getting access to the right medicines at the right time should not be one of those things. I feel very proud to be part of this network and will continue to try to help my patients have a good death.

The Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care is an umbrella and representative organisation which, through a collaborative approach, supports and contributes to the development and strategic direction of palliative care in Scotland. Its objective is to promote equitable access throughout Scotland to high quality palliative care for all patients and families on the basis of need not diagnosis. There website is well worth a visit.

Friday, 6 July 2012

That Friday feeling!

Thank crunchy its Friday! What a week! Time for a large G&T or two, or a nice bottle of chablis to set off the weekend?

Sadly not for me because:
a. I'm on call,
b. I'm still breastfeeding baby M and
c. I'm working tomorrow,
but bar the above, I'd be joining you at the bar.

In fact, we wouldn't be alone at the bar.  A tweet from NHS24 this morning told me:
"In the news - two-thirds of adults surveyed turn to drink in evening to relax. Try our alcohol questionnaire here " and the little linky sent me to the Alcohol Zone of NHS Inform.
As it was 8am and I was enjoying my muesli with stewed rhubarb (yum), I thought, why not? I am delighted to say the survey tells me I am a sensible drinker. I am not sure I'd have got the same result 10 years ago.

Have a go. I'd love to hear how you get on.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Independents' Day

Barnton Shops are getting ready to celebrate Independents’ Day
Support your local shops on 4th July

As our cousins across the pond celebrate their Independence Day, Barnton Shops will be flying the flag for local retailers on Whitehouse Road, behind the old Barnton Hotel and supporting diversity on the high street.

On 4th July 2012 across the country, the public will be encouraged to buy at least one item from their local, independent shop to celebrate Independents’ Day (nice pun!) 2012.

The national campaign, organised by Skillsmart Retail and the National Skills Academy for Retail, champions the local retailers who make the UK’s villages, towns and cities so special.

To raise awareness of the campaign, Barnton Shops are hosting a day of fun and festivities for all their local customers, and encouraging everyone to support THEIR local shops. The retailers involved include Cloudberry Gifts, Barnton Fine Foods, Raymond’s Hairdressing, Royal Dynasty, Curves and of course our own Barnton Pharmacy. There will be balloons for the kids, goody bags for customers and freebies and samples available from all the shops throughout the day on Wednesday.

Julie Pearson, owner of Cloudberry Gift and Coffee Shop said ‘We are really delighted to be taking part in such a great campaign! Our customers are very loyal and this will only encourage more people in the area to use their local independent shops’.

“An event like this is a great way to highlight how well we all work together for our local community.” said Sally Arnison co-owner of Barnton Pharmacy “In March we raised over £200 for Cash for Kids by holding a treasure hunt across all the shops and we all try to go that little bit extra for our customers whenever we can.”
With over 160,000 independent retailers making up 92% of all retail businesses in the UK, their importance to local economies as well as their contribution to a location’s identity and community is unrivaled. The independent retailers in Barnton work really hard both individually and as a team to make the area look and feel like a nice place to shop. We know our customers and hopefully know what they like and don't like.

So tomorrow, 4th July, please shop locally and support your independent retailers.