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HDA UK Media And Political Bulletin – 13 February 2018

Media and Political Bulletin

13 February 2018

Media Summary

Take sick children to pharmacies first, parents told

BBC News, 12 February 2018

 

The BBC reports on a new NHS England campaign which urges parents of young children with minor illnesses to take them to pharmacies rather than GPs or A&E. It follows a survey which found just 6% of parents with under-fives would go to a pharmacist first.

NHS England said visits to GPs and A&E for these “self-treatable” conditions, like stomach ache, cost £850m a year.

NHS England’s Stay Well Pharmacy campaign is urging people to visit their local pharmacist first to help save the service money and free up time for the sickest patients.

It said each year there were about 18 million GP appointments and 2.1 million visits to A&E for so-called self-treatable conditions – costing the service the equivalent of more than 220,000 hip replacements or 880,000 cataract operations.

The Stay Well campaign was also reported by PSNC.

 

Brine announces medicine safety initiative as error defence approaches

Chemist and Druggist, Grace Lewis, 12 February 2018

 

Chemist and Druggist highlights a recent announcement by Steve Brine in which he has said that the government will launch a new “medication safety initiative” in the “coming months”.

Mr. Brine said the initiative will “bring more focus on reducing prescribing and medication errors across the health system”.

“This programme will build on existing work to develop our understanding of how best to educate and inform patients about their medicines, as well as how we use technology such as electronic prescribing and medicine administration systems,” he added.

Mr Brine also reaffirmed that he is “personally committed” to seeing the legal defence for pharmacists and their staff from criminal prosecution for an inadvertent dispensing error become law.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

 

There is no parliamentary coverage today.

 

Full Coverage

Take sick children to pharmacies first, parents told

BBC News, 12 February 2018

Parents of young children with minor illnesses should take them to pharmacies rather than GPs or A&E, a new NHS England campaign says.

It follows a survey which found just 6% of parents with under-fives would go to a pharmacist first.

NHS England said visits to GPs and A&E for these “self-treatable” conditions, like stomach ache, cost £850m a year.

But parents should not be put off seeing a doctor, a patients’ group said.

GPs’ leaders said parents of children with a very high temperature that doesn’t go away should still seek help from a medical expert.

‘Skilled clinicians’

NHS England’s Stay Well Pharmacy campaign is urging people to visit their local pharmacist first to help save the service money and free up time for the sickest patients.

It said each year there were about 18 million GP appointments and 2.1 million visits to A&E for so-called self-treatable conditions – costing the service the equivalent of more than 220,000 hip replacements or 880,000 cataract operations.

Its survey of more than 2,000 people in England found 35% of parents of children under five would go to a GP if their child had a minor illness, such as earache, diarrhoea or stomach ache, while 5% would go directly to A&E.

The NHS survey also found that only 16% of adults would go to a pharmacist first if they were similarly unwell.

There are some 2.1 million visits a year to A&E for self-treatable conditions, the NHS says

Dr Bruce Warner, deputy chief pharmaceutical officer for NHS England, said: “Pharmacists are highly trained NHS health professionals who are able to offer clinical advice and effective treatments for a wide range of minor health concerns right there and then.

“They can assess symptoms and recommend the best course of treatment or simply provide reassurance, for instance when a minor illness will get better on its own with a few days’ rest.

“However, if symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, they have the right clinical training to ensure people get the help they need.”

Timing ‘not a coincidence’

However, the Patients Association said it was important parents did not feel put off from seeing a doctor if they thought something more serious was wrong.

The charity’s chief executive, Rachel Power, said: “For common childhood illnesses, a pharmacist will often be a sensible first port of call, so we welcome efforts to raise awareness of the support they can offer.

“Equally, we wouldn’t want to see parents put off taking their children to see a doctor if they have any suspicion that something more serious could be wrong.

“While this campaign has its merits, the timing is not a coincidence. The pressures facing the NHS after years of underfunding and mismanagement of its workforce create a huge incentive to discourage people from using GPs or A&E.

“Often people will be right to use alternatives, but we don’t want to hear of more cases where someone has stayed away and subsequently come to serious harm because they were in fact seriously ill.”

The Royal College of GPs said patients can help to ease the “intense pressure” on GPs by seeking advice from a pharmacist, who they said were “highly-skilled medical professionals”.

“But of course, they are not GPs and in an emergency or situation where genuinely unsure, patients should always seek expert medical assistance, particularly if parents see potentially serious symptoms in their child such as a very high temperature that doesn’t respond to simple measures, features of dehydration or lethargy, ” said chairwoman Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard.

The NHS’s Stay Well Pharmacy campaign will feature a TV advert and digital and social media advertising.

Brine announces medicine safety initiative as error defence approaches

Chemist and Druggist, Grace Lewis, 12 February 2018

The government will launch a new “medication safety initiative” in the “coming months”, pharmacy minister Steve Brine has announced.

In a pre-recorded video address to Sigma Pharmaceuticals’ annual conference in Borneo this morning (February 12), Mr Brine said the initiative will “bring more focus on reducing prescribing and medication errors across the health system”.

“This programme will build on existing work to develop our understanding of how best to educate and inform patients about their medicines, as well as how we use technology such as electronic prescribing and medicine administration systems,” he added.

Mr Brine also reaffirmed that he is “personally committed” to seeing the legal defence for pharmacists and their staff from criminal prosecution for an inadvertent dispensing error become law.

One step closer to dispensing error defence

Last week, this proposed defence came once step closer to reality, with the news that the government’s privy council had signed the order. According to correspondence from the Department of Health and Social Care – seen by C+D – this order will come into force 28 days after it has been signed, after which the government can then introduce a “commencement order”.

In practical terms, this means the earliest the defence could become law is April.

Minister admits sector’s “exceptional circumstances”

Pharmacy minister Mr Brine also used his video message to reflect on the “exceptional circumstances affecting community pharmacy this year”, including a 12-month category M clawback “at a time when some generic medicines increased in price”.

Mr Brine said he had “listened to these concerns” and “increased advance payments twice to mitigate cashflow issues”.

“I also recognise that November’s unprecedented delay in announcing concessionary prices caused a bit of uncertainty for pharmacy contractors. However, it was important to understand the position of the market.”

“I want to thank you for supplying medicines to patients during this uncertainty,” he added.

Watch the full video address from Mr Brine below:

Theresa May: “Pharmacy at heart of wellbeing”

For the second year in a row, prime minister Theresa May sent a letter expressing her support for the Sigma conference.

“Community pharmacies remain at the heart of patient care and community wellbeing,” she wrote in the letter. “As we are in the midst of national change, I hope the conference allows partners in the community pharmacy sector to discuss how to further shape their businesses for the future.”

The letter was read out by the event’s chair, Pharmacists’ Defence Association director of public affairs Claire Ward, during the conference’s opening session.

HDA UK Media And Political Bulletin – 13 February 2018

From Factory to Pharmacy

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