By Richard Thomas, Pharmacy Magazine editor.

The price of pharmacy’s higher profile these days is greater scrutiny from the media. What the sector absolutely does not need now, as it mounts an increasingly effective campaign to muster public support over the clear and present threat to the network, are banner headlines in The Guardian about Boots staff under pressure to “milk the NHS for cash” with their MURs.

Whatever the veracity or otherwise of the story – and it is important to stress that Boots has always insisted that MURs should never be undertaken inappropriately by its pharmacists – the company has struggled to shake off a reputation of having a target-driven culture when it comes to its professional services. Stories like this clearly don’t help.

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By Ian Strachan, NPA chairman.

The campaign opposing the cuts to pharmacy services is having the desired effect, but we must ensure we keep up the momentum.

Recently I met the pharmacy minister, Alistair Burt, at his office in Whitehall. The meeting coincided with a campaign milestone: that same day we reached a quarter of a million signatures on the Downing Street petition against Government plans that put pharmacy services in England at risk. By the time you read this, the number will have at least doubled.

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By Alexander Humphries.

Ever since the NPA petition pack against the cuts arrived on the doorstep, I’ve felt a sense of genuine support and warmth from my customers. From the response we’ve had from the public in the space of a few short weeks, I can honestly say that I’m ready to march on Number 10 if necessary.

It is a far cry from when the petition first arrived and my staff and patients knew very little of what was going on. Now, my staff are battle-hardened veterans who have given the 20-second summary of the proposals – and their impact on patients, pharmacies and the NHS – to hundreds of people.

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By Suzanne Scott-Thomas, chair of the Welsh Pharmacy Board.

Medicines use in care homes has come under the spotlight recently with a number of reports and reviews highlighting issues across Great Britain. Recent evaluations of medicines administration in care homes by Cardiff University revealed distinct medication error types and highlight the need for greater input into pharmaceutical care for care home residents.

The older people’s commissioner for Wales, the independent voice and champion for older people, has also voiced concerns in her report, ‘A Place to Call Home?’.


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By Alexander Humphries.

Experience tells me that it is never a good idea to answer the phone on a Monday morning half-an-hour before the pharmacy opens. Last week I broke the habit of a lifetime and picked up.

The caller, an ex-military man in his 80s, explained that he had been vomiting since 10pm the previous evening, but the last time “it looked like ground-up coffee”.

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