RPS local practice forum facilitators provide a round up of what LPFs have been doing
Students at the University of Huddersfield were encouraged to think about their health at two lunchtime events supported by pharmacy undergraduates.
The first was part of a series of university wide “Healthy living” events held on 7 March 2012. The pharmacy students, who are members of the West Yorkshire LPF students group, manned a stand offering free apples to those interested in thinking about starting to live a healthier life. Some of the pharmacy students also circulated, giving good advice and distributing leaflets to their fellow students as they ate lunch in the university cafes and student union.
On 14 March, another healthy living event was held on “No Smoking Day” at the student union bar, when pharmacy students distributed official literature and talked to the many student smokers outside as part of a Kirklees Public Health campaign.
Pharmacist Gill Hawksworth, who organised the events, said: “Public health is a very important role for pharmacists and our pharmacy students, who recently covered these topics with me in their course, were keen to demonstrate their knowledge and skills which will be put to use in future in the move towards healthy living pharmacies.
Student team leader Callum Plenderleith was pleased that the apples were so successful that they had to go and buy some more. He is looking forward to working on future public health promotions with Dr Hawksworth and being part of an HLP when he starts his preregistration training.
The London East LPF hosted an event in May studying the Society’s research into the responsible pharmacist Regulations. It used the new RPS action packs: the “RP: the facts” presentation and the “RP: the findings” webinar.
The event was presented by Mona Sood, member of the steering group, who provided the opportunity to revisit the requirements of RP, consider how the findings of the evaluation compared to their own experiences, and discuss some of the issues.
She emphasised the importance of the whole pharmacy team being aware of what the Regulations mean in practice, as they will have an effect on the services provided in the absence of the RP. In common with the findings of the research, the vast majority of the audience had not taken advantage of the flexibility of the two-hour absence that allows service delivery and professional development away from the pharmacy. The research indicated that this was in part because of commercial pressures, and in part for reasons of professional identity. Ms Sood also advised the audience to record the reason for any RP absence, which is not mandatory but good practice in order to establish an audit trail.
RP Regulations are here for a safer working environment, she said. They should not exonerate pharmacists from their responsibilities but we also do not want a ‘blame culture’.
Members were reassured by the eight recommendations from the findings of the evaluation, that the research was being used strategically by the RPS to develop pharmacy practice.
Malaria is a cause for concern in south London, particularly in the boroughs of Lewisham, Lambeth and Southwark, where the most cases of malaria have been seen. In order to address this, the London South West and London South East LPFs joined forces with the Health Protection Agency to host an event on 15 May 2012 to present the reasons for this increase, the recommended drugs that are used to prevent malaria and what pharmacists can do to help patients.
Peter Chiodini, head of the HPA’s malaria reference laboratory, explained why those travelling to see friends and relatives are more likely to contract malaria and the different drugs that can be used in different parts of the world.
Travellers contracted malaria for various reasons, including not seeking advice, not taking advice, receiving poor advice and taking herbal ot homoeopathic remedies, he said.
Pharmacists could assist by educating patients on risks, remedies and symptoms. Many people are unaware of the dangers or which parts of the world are at risk, said Profesor Chiodini. Pharmacists have the advantage of seeing patients when they are healthy as well as when they need medicines or medical attention.
Patients often have a good rapport with their local pharmacists and strike up casual conversations about topics such as their holidays. Furthermore, pharmacists are likely to be the first point of contact for a patient with the flu-like symptoms that are characteristic of malaria.
A full report is available at the South London eLPF pages at www.rpharms.com.
The all-London LPF event on tackling the registration examination on 23 May 2012 offered advice to preregistration trainees for passing their upcoming exam.
According to Shilpa Gohil, English Pharmacy Board lead and London North West LPF lead, the event was a response to preregistrations trainees’ needs raised during an event organised by the RPS last year to provide them with reassurance and advice on how to best prepare for the registration exam.
Nazia Ismail, a newly qualified pharmacist and the continuing professional development lead for the East London LPF, emphasised the networking aspect of the event. She said that the evening was “a great opportunity for preregistration trainees to network and share their anxieties about the exam, and realise that everyone has their own learning techniques”. Most importantly, “know not to panic”, she said.
The steering group members of the London LPFs also produced their own “top tips” guide for participants, which included their advice for what to do the month, week, and day before the exam. A copy of the handout is available from the online network groups “preregistration trainee discussion group” and “preregistration tutors’ group”.