Medicines awareness takes centre stage

A national campaign and a medicines use review pilot in South East England are shining the spotlight on the important subject of medicines safety and awareness.

'Ask Your Pharmacist Week', 5 – 11 November 2018

This year's National Pharmacy Association's (NPA) 'Ask Your Pharmacist Week' theme is 'Let's Talk About Medicines Safety'.  It centres on explaining to patients the risks involved in using medicines incorrectly and encouraging a conversation between patient and pharmacist around safe use. The NPA wants patients to have the confidence to give full, clear information to their pharmacist, and also to demand full, clear advice.

The campaign provides a platform for pharmacy public awareness activities across the UK, and pharmacists can get involved by ordering and downloading campaign materials from the campaign webpage.

Where Parkinson's medication is concerned, the Get It On Time message is probably the most important.  Conversations about proper use of medicines shouldn’t just take place between community pharmacist and patient; so, whether you’re a pharmacist working in hospital or community, what else can you do to extend the 'let's talk about Parkinson’s medicines safety' theme to patients and to other health and social care colleagues too?

The Parkinson's Medicines Use Review

On World Parkinson's Day this year, Parkinson's UK announced a charity partnership with community pharmacy group, Paydens Group Ltd.  Part of this partnership has seen the further development of a Parkinson’s Medicines Use Review (MUR).  

An MUR is carried out between pharmacist and patient, and the Parkinson's MUR specifically aims to ensure the person is getting the maximum benefit from their drugs, enables the pharmacist to advise and support around other issues, for example, non-motor symptoms, and allows those who need specialist interventions to be identified.

Following on from an initial 2-phase project: a collaboration between the Royal Pharmaceutical Society North West London Local Practice Forum and the Excellence Network (sponsored by UCB Pharma), the Paydens MUR project aims to deliver a rolling programme of pharmacist training and MUR delivery across its pharmacies.  

Shelley Jones, Clinical Pharmacist at King's College Hospital, London, has worked with Parkinson's UK to inform the pharmacists about the project and raise Parkinson’s awareness. She has also made further adaptations to the MUR model and Excellence Network online MUR training for pharmacists and is delivering face to face training. The first group of 10 pharmacists have started the training and soon be able to deliver the MUR with patients.  

Shirin Alwash, Superintendent Pharmacist, Worthing Pharmacies Ltd, is one of these 10 'Parkinson's Champions'.

'I've learned so much more about Parkinson's since being involved in this project. The training has been really informative and accessible, and I have found it very easy to fit it around my working day. I'm looking forward to being able to get started delivering MURs with my patients.'

More Paydens pharmacists will be trained up in 2019, with evaluative data being collected from pharmacists and patients about their experience. 

Plans are underway to make further adaptations to the training to allow community pharmacists, both independent and part of groups, to train and deliver the Parkinson's MUR. In the long term, data collected from the pilot project will be used to build a business case for the commissioning of a targeted Parkinson's MUR for England.