Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Ask Your Pharmacist

This week is Ask your Pharmacist Week

The focus of this year's campaign is to get members of the public to come to their local community pharmacy first, before going to their GP or accident and emergency department. 
There is a great website to support the campaign. Have a look.

I thought it timely to give you ten reasons why you should come to Barnton Pharmacy first:

  1. Come to Barnton Pharmacy first because our friendly team will always make you feel listened to and welcomed. We recently got 100% in our mystery shopper survey!
  2. Come to Barnton Pharmacy first because we can treat most minor illnesses free of charge on the NHS if you are eligible
  3. Come to Barnton Pharmacy first if you want to ask a question about your medicines. Our pharmacists are the experts in medicines and how to get the most out of them.
  4. Come to Barnton Pharmacy first if you want a flu vaccine but are not in an "at risk group". Our hassle free service only costs £15.00
  5. Come to Barnton Pharmacy first for great offers on winter remedies. We currently have discounts on the whole strepsil range.
  6. Come to Barnton Pharmacy first if you want to know how to look after yourself this winter. We have  a great raneg of vitamins and supplements including Echinacea
  7. Come to Barnton Pharmacy first for a great range of unusual Christmas gifts and stocking fillers. Our first Christmas shopping evening is this Thursday from 6pm to 8pm
  8. Come to Barnton Pharmacy first for advice on local services for people with dementia. We have been working with Alzheimer's Scotland to become a dementia friendly pharmacy.
  9. Come to Barnton Pharmacy first if you want to have your hearing tested. Gordon holds regular hearing tests in the private consultation room which are free of charge
  10. Come to Barnton Pharmacy first for travel vaccines and malaria tablets at our Travel clinic.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

It's flu time again

The leaves have almost gone from the trees. The ones that cling on bravely are displaying all the colours of Autumn and the summer of 2013 will long be remembered as that hot lazy summer which is nothing more than a distant memory of paddling pools and Andy Murray's Wimbledon win!

This can mean only one thing - Time for your flu jab

Proper flu is proper horrid, and really can floor you and certainly leave you feeling rotten for a number of weeks, it claims many lives each year.

If you are over 65 or have a long term condistion such as asthma or diabetes contact your GP practice to arrange your free vaccine on the NHS.

If you still want to protect yourself, we can help with our private flu vaccination service:

  • No appointment needed
  • Quick and virtually painless
  • Only £15.00
  • Six days a week Monday to Saturday 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

It's getting hot in here......

We spend a lot of time in Scotland talking about the weather. I often wonder what the small talk would involve if Barnton Pharmacy were located in Beiruit where the sun shines most of the time. 
It is summer at last and it is lovely! 
Whilst most of us are enjoying the weather, I thought it would be useful to share some tips as to how to stay healthy in the heat:

  1. The very young, the elderly and the seriously ill are the groups who are particularly at risk of health problems such as heat stroke and dehydration when the weather is very hot. Take time to check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.
  2. Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. If it’s safe, open them for ventilation when it is cooler.
  3. Avoid the heat: stay out of the sun and don’t go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you’re vulnerable to the effects of heat. 
  4. Don't forget the suncream and hat when you do go outside. Have a look at these top tips for applying sun cream. 
  5. Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.  Follow the kids and enjoy a dip in the paddling pool or play with the hose in the garden!
  6. Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and fruit juice. Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol.

There are about three days every year when we seriously consider the capital investment of air conditioning in the pharmacy and as soon as we get the figures and crunch the numbers, the seasons have moved on and the nights are drawing in again. In the mean time - ice lollies all round which, of course involves a trip to the lovely air conditioned supermarket a few doors along.
The Met Office have loads of helpful advice on their website and you can even check the pollen count and the UV index before you head outside to enjoy the summer - no matter how brief it may be.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Coeliac Awareness Week 2013

This week is Coeliac UK Awareness Week 2013 and we are taking part in the campaign to try to identity some of  the half a million people in the UK with undiagnosed coeliac disease.

What is it?
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease caused by an intolerance to gluten. Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley and rye, so is found in cereals, bread and pasta.

The symptoms of coeliac disease vary from person to person, and can be mild or severe, which can make it difficult to diagnose but can include: nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, tiredness and a general feeling of being "not right".
Come in and talk to us if you are worried about your symptoms and we can help you decide what to do next.

What can be done about it?
If you suffer from the symptoms you can ask your GP for a simple blood test to check for antibodies associated with coeliac disease. Your GP will refer you for further investigation to confirm diagnosis.

After diagnosis
Once diagnosed, coeliac disease is treated with a gluten-free diet for life. Taking gluten out of your diet allows your gut to heal and your symptoms to improve. Companies like Glutafin and Juvela make a wide range of gluten free products and some of them are available on prescription.

Coeliac UK have loads of information and advice to help people with coeliac disease.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Just an ordinary morning.......

I spend a lot of time thinking about what to blog about and consequently don't often sit down and write about what is really happening at work. Ellen over at Blogging Works suggested just going for it and telling you about my day. I reckon I could do that in my lunch break.

Arrive at work feeling like I've done a full day's wrangling getting two small boys who have been up since 6am to nursery.

Hazel - our super accuracy-checking pharmacy technician is already in and has sorted out the mess we left last night, checked the remaining prescriptions so we are ready for the day ahead. We have a quick chat and decide on a plan for the day and delegate tasks to the Megan and Sandra when they arrive for work.

As it is the first of the month, we need to get all of April's prescriptions ready to be sent off for pricing. Hazel makes a start on this. It is great to have staff you can trust with this sort of job. After all prescription pricing is where the vast majority of our income comes from.
First job: Chase up warfain results from the local surgery. There are some dosette boxes for elderly patients which need finishing to go out for delivery today.
Prescriptions from the early surgery start to arrive at the same time as our three wholesaler deliveries. The first order has two wrong items in it, so we phone to chase and correct them to ensure the right stock comes in later on today.

I speak to a patient on the phone about her neuropathic pain and advise her how best to take her painkillers.

There are three patients waiting to speak to me:
  1. A lady worried about her mum's mouth ulcer. On further discussion, she has lost weight and is really not very well. I send her on to the GP.
  2. A man with a sore eye (the second of the day so far). Looks like a meibomiam cyst. Self care advice.
  3. A lady with a sore knee. I think it sounds like a tendon issue and give advice for immediate pain relief and refer on to the physio for further investigation.
    I must remember to record these consultations under the Minor Ailments Service.
Time for a quick coffee (thanks Hazel). The phone goes again and i try to negotiate a better deal for our electricity.

First appointment for our weight loss service. This lady is really motivated and keen to get started on Lipotrim.

Another quick phone call to the surgery to get an alternative for a cream which has been unavailable for a while. These supply problems really are taking up more and more time.

I speak to a lady asking about Souvenaid for her mum. It turns out she works for Alzheimer's Scotland and we have a great chat about her work and what pharmacy could be doing more of for dementia patients.

Check the orders and send them for this afternoons delivery. Time to make sure all the staff have their lunches. Megan has been busy setting up May's retail promotions. They are looking great! Sandra has finished all the balances and we can start to label the next batch of surgery prescriptions that Willie has dropped off. I check he has everything he needs for his deliveries before grabbing my lunch.
Time for 30 minutes to recharge. Sushi is so tasty and I can probably squeze in time to write a blog. I fight with the internet connection! Blog done.

Now, what will this afternoon have in store?

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Spotting diabetes early

We have recently had a young girl who attends the pharmacy diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She is coping brilliantly with her diagnosis and daily insulin injections and her mum is so proud of her.

I was shocked to read that a quarter of type 1 diabetics are not diagnosed until they have reached diabetic ketoacidosis (KA) - a life-threatening condition that requires urgent medical attention. For younger children this figure is even higher.

Diabetes Uk are raising awareness of the early signs of type 1 diabetes - known as the 4 Ts.


What are the 4 Ts?

  • ToiletGoing to the toilet a lot, bed wetting by a previously dry child or heavier nappies in babies
  • Thirsty
    Being really thirsty and not being able to quench the thirst
  • Tired
    Feeling more tired than usual
  • Thinner
    Losing weight or looking thinner than usual
If you are at all worried about your child having any or some of these signs, please get them checked out at with their doctor.

    Thursday, 11 April 2013

    School trips and and travel tips

    Is your daughter heading to Honduras on a geography field trip or maybe your son is doing his gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.
    Is it just me or are school trips a bit different these days? I remember a day trip to the Lake of Mentieth some 20 plus years ago in the name of geography!

    Wondering what you can do to help them pack for the trip? We can help!

    We now stock a wide range of travel products from Life Systems who are the recommended stockist on the DEA "kit list".

    So if you need a knife fork and spoon set, a whistle, compact towel or a water bottle - we have them in stock.

    We also have midge repellent - essential for summer in Scotland and tick removers!!

    If your kids are off somewhere more exotic, Leanne and Sally can advise you on vaccinations and malaria tablets for you trip. We use the most up to date information from the National Travel Health Network and Centre and will discuss each person's trip individually.

    Any vaccines needed can be given on site and without you needing a prescription or coming back at a later date.

    Each consultations lasts about 30 minutes and will cost £15 but this will be deducted from any vaccines, tablets or travel products bought.

    Give us a call on 0131 339 3449 to arrange an appointment with the travel clinic. We ask you to bring an up to date vaccination history (available from your GP) and allow about 6 weeks before travel. Remember some vaccinations need more than one injection to complete the course. However, even if you are leaving very soon, it is better to start a course of vaccination and have some protection than none at all.

    Monday, 8 April 2013

    Souvenaid: A new approach in early Alzheimer's

    I have blogged about Dementia before and it is a topic I feel strongly about. We have a number of patients with Alzheimer's Disease in who, along with their families and carers we look after on a daily basis. We probably have many more patients living in our community either undiagnosed or with the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. The extent of this problem will be revealed over the next decade.

    I was therefore quite excited about the launch of a new product hailed to help early Alzheimer's disease. It has, however, taken me a long time to get my head around this. There has been very little fanfare - an article in the Daily Mail - and indeed there has been some opposition for patient groups. I notice that there is some debate on the dementia forums online, though

    Souvenaid came out at the beginning of 2013 and is only available after consultation with a
    pharmacist, specialist nurse or GP. I have done a training course and Barnton Pharmacy is now"accredited" to sell Souvenaid.

    It is a drink (strawberry and vanilla) which is recommended to be taken daily and contains a unique combination of nutrients which required to make new brain connections, called synapses. The loss of synapses is one of the key features of Alzheimer's disease .

    Brilliant! There is something available which can slow the loss of synapses!  Surely we should be jumping up and down with glee and recommending it to everyone in or neighbourhood? NO? Why not?

    Firstly, the cost. At £3.50 one milkshake aday will end up costing £1200 a year and constinued use is recommended for most benefit. That's fine if you can afford it but perhaps there are other things we should be recommending our older folk spend there money on.

    Secondly, Souvenaid has been launched as a "food for special medical purposes". It is not a drug. This means it has not undergone the same trial required by drugs before they come to market. This does not mean there is no truth in the claims and health benefits, it just needs to be put into perspective.

    So now you see my dilemma. I think there is real potential in Souvenaid and I think there is probably a market. So far, three months in, I have not yet been asked about it by anyone in Barnton.

    I would be delighted to discuss the product with you if you want to know more about it fr yourself or a friend or family member.

    Tuesday, 26 March 2013

    Drug shortages - who is to blame?

    Isn't it annoying when your pharmacy doesn't have enough of your medicine to complete your prescriptions? In most cases this can simply be because their isn't enough stock on the shelves. Perhaps a certain GP has had a run on one particular antibiotic that day or the wholesaler did not receive their delivery.

    There are other reasons, though which say more about our current economic climate that poor stock keeping on our behalf.

    The pound has been weaker than the euro meaning that it is now profitable to export drugs to mainland Europe. This is a reverse of what has happened for many years where we have imported lots of drugs back from Europe in order to reduce costs. Remember the Greek writing on your tablet boxes? Exporting (which is completely legal) has lead to shortages of some branded drugs for the UK market. As a consequence, the manufacturers impose quotas on pharmacies as to how many of each drug they can order in a month supposedly to curb supply for the export market.

    Other drug shortages are less common. At present there is a shortage of isosrbide mononitrate tablets (used to treat angina) across the country. This is because the factory supplying a third of the world's isosorbide mononitrate was forced to shut temporarily to clear away a potentially explosive byproduct! In this case the Scottish Government took the unusual step of offering advice to GP's and pharmacists as to what action to take.

    The end result for me and many of my pharmacy colleagues is hours a week spent on the phone trying to source drugs for real patients with genuine prescriptions. At Barnton Pharmacy, we will go that little bit further to try to get your medication. I am sure there are some others that just don't bother.

    Drug shortages are at best frustrating for pharmacy and inconvenient for patients but at worst can have serious consequences through switches to other drugs, cost to the NHS and increased hospital visits. 

    I would love to hear your experiences of drug shortages and what you would do to improve the situation.

    Wednesday, 23 January 2013

    Chronic Pain: Help with self management.

    This month's topic for our public health campaign is chronic pain. the campaign started this week in association with Pain Concern , Pain Association Scotland, Health Improvement Scotland and the Scottish Government.
    Chronic pain affects about 20% of the population with 7% of those affected having pain which is severely disabling. This sort of pain affects every aspect of life and can be very complex to manage. The main aim of this campaign to to shift the emphasis from curing chronic pain to learning how to manage your pain so that you can live life to the full.

    Drugs are only part of the solution.

    At Barnton Pharmacy we are delighted to talk to you about your pain medication, to make sure you are getting the most out of it and not having any adverse effects.
    In particular we can help with:
    • The best times to take your medicines to fit in with your lifestyle.
    • How to manage any side effects
    • Offering sign posting to some of the other support services available.
    We are also highlighting some brilliant web resources:
    • The Managed Knowledge Network website on chronic pain contains masses of information on pain and also links to different pain support groups.
    • Pain Concern provides information and support through leaflets, a magazine and an online forum. you can also download a series of podcasts bringing together people living with pain and top pain specialists to talk about resources which can help.
    • Pain Association Scotland provide a network of professionally led self management training groups throughout Scotland. The groups follow a programme of self management topics that helps to build skills and understanding.