Sunday morning musings on managing long-term conditions

“Community pharmacists are extremely famous, but we don’t know what you do.” These are the words of a delegate relaying the uninformed position of his voluntary sector colleagues. Wherever I am lately, this is the predominant question: do people really understand the role of pharmacy?

Discussion arising from the Sunday morning session on the management of long-term conditions, chaired by Peter Knapp, senior lecturer from the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York, was no exception.

Wasim Baqir presented research into patient satisfaction with pharmaceutical care in inflammatory bowel disease, alongside findings about patient loyalty to community pharmacies. It was perhaps unsurprising that almost 50 per cent of patients chose their community pharmacy because of its convenient location. However, delegates joined Mr Baqir’s disappointment that only 3 per cent of patients considered a pharmacist the reason for their loyalty to a particular pharmacy.

This figure arose again later in the day as pharmacist roles were discussed in greater depth during the supervision debate chaired by John Gentle, RPS treasurer. Questions were raised about how pharmacists can promote their clinical expertise and services to patients. The research shared by Mr Baqir finds that patients place a higher value on friendly customer service from pharmacy staff, the availability of specific medicines and services than the clinical expertise available from pharmacists.

Other presentations also explored the changing and challenging pharmacist roles and pharmacy services. Ruey Leng Loo reported that community pharmacists are largely in support of providing NHS health checks. However, in the view of pharmacists, barriers to this include staffing, time restraints, reimbursement and training requirements.

Helen Payton presented results from her MPharm fourth-year research project about the clinical impact of pharmacist-led diabetes outpatient clinics. In light of the recently launched Royal College of General Practitioners report “Care planning – improving the lives of people with long-term conditions”, it was positive to hear results demonstrating that pharmacist-led clinics can provide significant benefits to patients by reducing clinical outcome measures (blood pressure, cholesterol and HbA1c) associated with long-term risk.

Other presentations included research from the School of Pharmacy at Queen’s University Belfast, which explored factors influencing GP prescribing in dementia, and the adherence of children taking antiepileptic medication. So, all in all, Session 3 provided interesting insight for a sleepy Sunday morning!

by Connie Pringle

 

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Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Sunday morning musings on managing long-term conditions;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2011.11084034