By Celesio UK managing director, Cormac Tobin.

The new minister responsible for pharmacy, David Mowat, has said that the principles outlined in the Community Pharmacy Forward View were ’spot on’ and acknowledged the fact there is a big contribution pharmacy can make in areas such as long-term conditions. I believe this is a positive step to move us forward.

I know that community pharmacy is a vital asset to the NHS, especially at a time when it is facing unprecedented demands, and we need to work together to make the Forward View a reality.

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By Stephen Fishwick, NPA head of communications.

I was intrigued recently to find in the NPA basement a photograph of ‘Bradd The Cure Bear’, the cuddly mascot of an Ask Your Pharmacist campaign roadshow 20 years ago. Apparently Bradd provided educational entertainment for young shoppers by performing a special show on pharmaceutical safety. Whilst Bradd seems to have gone into hibernation, the Ask Your Pharmacist initiative has continued in various guises ever since.

This year’s Ask Your Pharmacist Week will take place November 7-14 with the theme More Than Medicines. Organised by the National Pharmacy Association, the week provides a platform for pharmacy public awareness activities across the UK. It also serves as a prompt for conversations with key stakeholders at a local level about community pharmacy services.

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By Sandra Gidley, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board.

A lot has happened since the RPS launched its campaign to improve the care of people in care homes in February, which called for a pharmacist to have overall responsibility for medicines and their use in care homes.

Our research revealed that the average care home resident takes between 7-8 medicines every day, with many taking a lot more. Polypharmacy can lead to increased risk of falls or hospital admissions due to adverse drug reactions, which affect residents’ health and add to the burden on the NHS. In addition, an estimated £24 million is lost every year due to medicine wastage in care homes across England.

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By Richard Thomas, Pharmacy Magazine editor.

The NHS is teetering on the brink.

In the last month alone there have been lurid headlines about clinical commissioning groups suspending all but the most urgent treatments for patients, restrictions on the use of statins, increasing limits on surgery for cataracts and hip and knee operations, A&E departments under threat of closure… the list goes on.

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By Alexander Humphries.*

Last year we appointed a new dispenser, partly on the recommendation of another member of staff, and partly because the individual deserved a chance, having become completely disillusioned with pharmacy as a result of working for a large multiple for a couple of years.

Nearly a year later, things just hadn’t worked out. After talking to the boss and to the rest of the team, I had to decide: do I take the easy option and ignore the issue, hoping it will get better on its own, or do I tackle it and risk making the situation worse? In a small team the easy option isn’t really an option at all. Something had to be done.

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