National News

Voting underway in the Regional Representatives election

PSNC News - 22 February 2018 - 5:05pm

Voting papers have been sent to all Independent Chemists in the South-Western and London North Thames regions and voting is underway. The closing date for receipt of completed voting forms is no later than 5pm on Thursday 15th March 2018.

For full details of the election process, timetable etc. please see the PSNC briefing available here.

Categories: National News

Prescription charge to rise to £8.80

PSNC News - 22 February 2018 - 4:34pm

The Government has announced an increase to the NHS prescription charge of 20 pence, to £8.80 per prescription item. This change will come into effect from 1st April 2018.

The cost of prescription pre-payment certificates (PPCs) has remained the same for a further year, with the price of a three-month PPC at £29.10 and a 12-month PPC at £104. PPCs offer savings for those needing four or more items in three months or more than 12 items in one year.

The Government said: “To ensure that those with the greatest need, and who are not already exempt from the charge, are protected we have frozen the cost of the prescription prepayment certificates (PPC) for another year… Taken together, this means prescription charge income is expected to rise broadly in line with inflation.”

Categories: National News

Class 2 MHRA drug alert – Ventolin Accuhaler 200mcg (Glaxo Wellcome UK Ltd)

PSNC News - 21 February 2018 - 4:52pm

Drug alert number: EL (18) A/03

Date issued: 21st February 2018

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued a class 2, patient, pharmacy and wholesaler level recall, to be actioned within 48 hours, for certain batches of:

Ventolin Accuhaler 200mg inhaler pack size 1 x 60 (Glaxo Wellcome UK Ltd)

PL number: PL 10949/0252

Lot numbers: 786G and 754P

Expiry date: 05/2019

Glaxo Wellcome UK Limited is recalling the above Lots because a manufacturing issue has been identified which has resulted in a small number of units not delivering the full number of doses.

The MHRA has advised healthcare professionals to do the following:

  • quarantine any remaining stock of these Lots and return to the original supplier for credit;
  • identify patients or carers who have received Ventolin Accuhaler 200mcg since 31st August 2017;
  • contact these patients or carers to notify them of this issue and ask them to check whether their Ventolin Accuhalers have Lot numbers 786G or 754P printed on the device and packaging; and
  • if the patient or carer has any Ventolin Accuhalers 200mcg from these Lots, they should be asked to return them to their pharmacy or their dispensing practice for replacement with a different Lot number. Please provide replacement packs to patients at point of return, to ensure that affected patients are not left without a supply of their medicine.

The MHRA has also issued patient-specific information which can be viewed on the drug alert document.

To view the alert please visit the GOV.UK website.

Categories: National News

Class 2 MHRA drug alert – Seretide Accuhaler 50mcg/250mcg inhalation powder (Glaxo Wellcome UK Ltd)

PSNC News - 21 February 2018 - 4:43pm

Drug alert number: EL (18) A/04

Date issued: 21st February 2018

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory agency (MHRA) has issued a class 2 pharmacy-level recall, to be actioned within 48 hours, for:

Seretide Accuhaler 50mcg/250mcg inhalation powder, pack size 1 x 60 (Glaxo Wellcome UK Ltd)

PL number: PL 10949/0315

Lot number: 5K8W

Expiry date: 04/2019

Glaxo Wellcome UK Limited is recalling the above Lot of Seretide Accuhaler 50mcg/250mcg because a manufacturing issue has been identified which has resulted in a small number of units not delivering the full number of doses.

Healthcare professionals are advised to quarantine any remaining stock of this Lot and return to the original supplier for credit.

To view the alert please visit the GOV.UK website.

Categories: National News

Work starts to improve electronic information sharing from pharmacies

PSNC News - 21 February 2018 - 12:49pm

The Professional Records Standards Body (PRSB) has begun work on a new project to improve information sharing between pharmacy teams and the rest of the health and care sector, to improve patient care.

PRSB will work with NHS Digital, the RPS, PSNC and other pharmacy stakeholders to develop data standards so that information from community pharmacy services can be shared digitally with other services, with an initial focus on GPs. The information, which will include data on immunisations, medication and other patient related information, will support health and care professionals to make the right decisions about care.

Commenting on the start of this work, pharmacist and advisor to the project Stephen Goundrey-Smith, said:

“Through new services and offerings, community pharmacists are becoming increasingly involved in patient care. From offering vaccinations to additional support and advice with medications, it is more important than ever that we are sharing the right information with other care providers. A standard on pharmacy information flows will mean we are able to share the right information between services in a standardised way, ultimately leading to better quality care for patients.”

How can community pharmacists get involved in this work?

Look out for further announcements about how pharmacy team members can get involved.


Categories: National News

Stay Well Pharmacy resources: delivery update

PSNC News - 21 February 2018 - 11:51am

Update for contractors yet to receive campaign materials (21st February 2018):

PSNC has been seeking clarification from NHS England after receiving queries from contractors who have still not received their packs of Stay Well campaign materials. These were expected to be sent out in the week commencing 12th February 2018.

Public Health England (PHE), who are co-ordinating the distribution of the materials with the Healthcare Distribution Association, have confirmed today that the delivery of the packs was delayed last week. They have advised that the situation is being resolved.

Pharmacies should start receiving materials later this week and into next week, and are asked to make use of the materials when they do arrive.


NHS England’s Stay Well Pharmacy campaign, which encourages the public to ask community pharmacy teams for advice on minor health concerns, has launched this week.

Community pharmacies should receive a briefing pack and resources including posters from NHS England this week.

The campaign launched on Monday 12th February and makes use of posters, leaflets, social media activity and television advertising to raise awareness.

Running until 31st March 2018, the campaign is aiming to increase the public’s trust and confidence in community pharmacy teams as the place to go for clinical advice for minor health concerns, and encouraging people to use pharmacies rather than visiting their GP as a first port of call.

The campaign is targeting parents of children aged five years or under, aiming to increase their confidence and trust in the advice given by community pharmacy teams, and encourage them to use pharmacies rather than visiting their GP for minor health concerns. Three key symptoms are the focus of the campaign: sore throats; coughs and colds; and tummy problems.

The Healthcare Distribution Association has kindly agreed to distribute a branded toolkit to all pharmacies in England (multiples, small chain and independents) as part of their daily prescription medication deliveries. The toolkit should arrive w/c 12th February so pharmacy teams are asked to watch out for it arriving and start to use it immediately.

The campaign materials feature real community pharmacy team members along with prominent green cross imaging. The campaign materials will explain to parents that they can speak to the community pharmacy team about a range of minor health concerns.

Support materials

Resources hub
PSNC, working in partnership with the other national pharmacy organisations, has worked to compile a one-stop resources hub, linking to all the most up-to-date clinical resources that can help community pharmacy teams to manage minor illnesses, and identify any red flag symptoms. Pharmacy teams are encouraged to use the hub and share it with colleagues.

Communicating with patients
LPCs may wish to use this opportunity to raise awareness locally of the work pharmacy teams do. This page contains resources created for patients and the public to provide more information about community pharmacy and its services.

PSNC Briefing 008/18: Hosting a pharmacy visit for your local MP
If you would like to organise a pharmacy visit for your local MP during the campaign, this recently update PSNC Briefing provides guidance which can help in the planning and preparation of such a visit. Much of this advice is also applicable if you are arranging a visit for a local councillor.

Categories: National News

Health & Care Review

PSNC News - 19 February 2018 - 4:54pm

Keeping up with all the latest developments in health and care policy could almost be a full time job and PSNC regularly receives questions from LPCs and pharmacy contractors about what is going on in the wider health and care landscape beyond community pharmacy. To help answer some of these questions and to help contractors and LPCs stay up to date, PSNC provides this update service outlining the latest information in an easily digestible format. Weekly updates are published on our website and contractors can ensure they do not miss them by signing up to PSNC’s email newsletter service here.

The reviews extend the work we have been doing for some time to help LPCs stay informed about the NHS changes, and they inform the more detailed PSNC briefings which we continue to publish on this topic; these can be accessed in the Healthcare Landscape section of the website.

Public can expect ‘gold standard’ protection against flu next year

Public Health England (PHE) has published an article aimed at patients to highlight that it has published guidance for GPs and pharmacists on influenza vaccine orders for 2018/19.

It states that given the evidence, following the guidance is in the best interest of patients, particularly given the association of flu with increased mortality and it will ensure the most vulnerable people get the best available protection.

Sexual and reproductive health in England: local and national data

PHE has issued a guide to provide health professionals, including local government service providers and commissioners, with key information they require to understand the available data relating to sexual and reproductive health. This includes data collated by PHE as well as other organisations.

The guide covers various sexual and reproductive health topics and provides a description of the topic, where to find local information and a list of national resources.

Integrated care: what does it mean for commissioning?

The Nuffield Trust has published a blog post which considers which risks and opportunities integrated care could have for commissioning. The post highlights that debates around new organisational structures relate more to privatisation within the NHS and less about NHS commissioning.

It discusses the differences between Accountable Care Systems and Accountable Care Organisations, NHS commissioning, setting standards and effective strategic commissioning.

New research into options for funding social care published

The Health Foundation and the King’s Fund have published a working paper setting out interim findings from their project looking at funding options for social care in England.

The paper looks at the following options:

  • improving the current system;
  • the Conservative Party’s proposals at the time of the 2017 general election (a revised means test and a cap on care costs);
  • a single budget for health and social care;
  • free personal care; and
  • a hypothecated tax for social care

After a review of relevant literature and engagement with two stakeholder groups, a framework was developed for exploring these options, and to identify the key strengths and weakness of each.

The conclusions of the paper include:

  • there is scope for making small improvements within the current system, however it would not address many of the fundamental problems within the current system, including the downward trend in the numbers receiving publicly funded care;
  • a joint health and social care budget might support progress towards more integrated care, but it will not in itself address the differences in eligibility between the two systems or generate additional revenue for health or care;
  • free personal care would mean increasing the government’s ‘offer’ on social care. However, given this would require an increase in public spending, there is a question as to whether this would be the best use of additional funding for social care; and
  • a hypothecated tax may help gain public support for raising additional funding for social care, however, this would represent a significant shift from the existing system and could exacerbate the lack of alignment between the health and social care.

Smarter homes for older people could save NHS and social care system over £2.5 billion a year

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has published a report, Healthy Homes: Accommodating an Ageing Population, which calls on the Government to offer financial incentives for construction companies to build more modified homes for older living.

Recommendations in the report include:

  • the Government must change its existing policy on house building and incentivise construction companies to build for older living. A house that enables people to age well will reduce long-term costs;
  • the Government should commit to modernising the UK building design and construction regulations, and create a ‘kitemark’ for agile/cognitive housing and its associated technology; and
  • the Department of Health to invest in nationwide “healthy living for life” technology programmes and collaborate with the Academic Health Science Networks to invest in national programmes that focus on technology for prevention of ill health in old age.
Learning from the vanguards: New publications launched

NHS Clinical Commissioners have published a series of briefings in partnership with NHS Providers, the Local Government Association and the NHS Confederation to explore learning from a number of vanguard sites.

The resources include briefings on:

  • Learning from the vanguard: supporting people and communities

This briefing looks at what the vanguards set out to achieve when it comes to supporting people and communities to stay well.

  • Learning from vanguards: staff at the heart of new care models

This briefing looks at what the vanguards set out to achieve when it comes to involving and engaging staff in the new care models.

  • Learning from vanguards: spreading and scaling up change.

This briefing looks at what can be learned from the vanguards’ efforts to design, test and deliver a variety of scalable and replicable new care models.

It is hoped that these briefings present an opportunity for Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships and Accountable Care Organisations to build on the vanguards’ understanding of what has and has not worked.

Communities and health

The King’s Fund has published an article on the role of communities in improving health with a particular focus on moving to population health systems. It covers health policy in relation to the role of communities in health as well as examples of community involvement through commissioning, service design and care pathways.

Media monitoring

On Monday 12th February 2018, the following stories were published:

  • The Independent reports a 13% rise in hospital admissions over the past four years as spending on drug and alcohol support services has reduced.

  • Digital health trackers will be offered by the NHS as part of its ‘healthy towns’ initiative, reports the Telegraph. These tackers will help check up on the elderly and encourage families to live healthier lives, saving the NHS money in the long run. This story has also been covered by the Express and the Sun.

On Tuesday 13th February 2018, the following stories were published:

  • Age UK has found that people with dementia are not receiving the care they need, reports The Guardian. The charity claims that out of the 458,461 people with a recorded diagnosis of dementia, only 282,573 had an up-to-date care plan.

  • The Times reports on a trial in which up to 15 patients with the same long-term condition take part in ‘shared consultations’ with a GP. This story has also been covered by the Daily Mail, which highlights concerns from patient groups.

On Wednesday 14th February 2018, the following story was published:

  • The Mail reports that adopting a vegan diet can help reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes if you’re overweight, whilst the Express reports on the development of a supplement drink which could help people who are living with diabetes to better manage their condition.

On Thursday 15th February 2018, the following stories were published:

  • The BBC reports that the gap in life expectancy between the rich and the poor has widened. It’s up 7.2 years since 2001, and those from the least advantaged fifth of the population are now about 80% more likely to die than those from the most advantaged fifth.

  • ITV News reports that an estimated 10,000 Alzheimer’s patients a year have become stuck in the healthcare system. They are medically fit to leave hospital but are unable to do so because of a lack of available community care.

  • Research has revealed that eating highly-processed foods could increase the risk of cancer, reports the Telegraph. However, there is a note of caution because it is possible that those who eat a lot of ultra-processed foods may also be more likely to have a less healthy lifestyle overall. This story was also covered by the BBC, Guardian, iNews, Mirror, Express, Daily Mail, Sun and Sky News.

On Friday 16th February 2018, the following story was published:

  • The Independent reports that as many as 61% of us would put off going to the GP for fear of finding out it’s a serious condition. This story was also covered by the Telegraph and Mirror.

Categories: National News

New BLF resource to assist with respiratory-targeted MURs

PSNC News - 19 February 2018 - 10:55am

The British Lung foundation (BLF) has published a new consultation guide which aims to support pharmacists in undertaking a Medicines Use Review (MUR) on patients with asthma or COPD.

The guide helps to ensure that pharmacists are asking the right questions and deliver clear messages to support better medicines understanding and healthy lifestyle messages. It follows a format similar to the PSNC MUR worksheet and enables the minimum MUR dataset to be collected.

Community pharmacy teams are reminded that PSNC has a page which provides information about the support available from the BLF for people with lung conditions to aid community pharmacy teams with signposting patients to relevant sources of information, and to also highlight to pharmacy teams about how to become a BLF Professional.

Categories: National News

Voting underway in PSNC non-CCA Multiple Chemists election

PSNC News - 19 February 2018 - 9:59am

Voting papers have been sent to all known Multiple Chemists and voting is underway. There are six candidates standing in this election and the closing date for receipt of completed voting forms is no later than 5pm on Thursday 15 March 2018.

For full details of the election process, timetable etc. please see PSNC’s news story.

If you are a Multiple Chemist and have not received voting papers, please contact William Goh by email at as a matter of urgency to confirm the following:

  1. A contact name; and
  2. E-mail address for this election process; and
  3. Head office details; and
  4. The total number of premises in England from which NHS Pharmaceutical Services (including LPS arrangements) are provided.
  5. Whether an AIM member.

It is the responsibility of Multiple Chemists to provide the relevant information to PSNC.

Categories: National News

Community pharmacy anticoagulation service can achieve high clinical outcomes, evaluation shows

PSNC News - 16 February 2018 - 4:09pm

A research evaluation has been published on the Community Pharmacy Anticoagulation Management service in the journal BMC Health Services Research. This evaluation has shown that community pharmacy is ideally positioned to support the commissioning of key services from primary care providing good clinical outcomes whilst attaining high patient satisfaction for the level of service and skills of the pharmacy team involved.

The service was commissioned to transfer and maintain existing non-complex patients prescribed warfarin in secondary care within Brighton and Hove to clinics run on the pharmacy premises or via a domiciliary service.

The service was commissioned to address some of the challenges faced by patients who require anticoagulant monitoring in secondary care – namely the accessibility of a centralised clinic supporting a wide geographical area – by bringing the service closer to the patient.

What did the service involve?

Patients were eligible for referral if they had at least two out of their last four readings in target range and did not fall into the exclusion criteria. Patients referred on to the service were non-complex and included either those requiring warfarin initiation or those who had already completed the initiation period and required ongoing monitoring.

At each clinic appointment a patient’s INR was measured by taking a capillary blood sample using a finger prick device and analysed using the same device. The INR result was input into software which provided pharmacists with support on dosing and recall interval decisions. The system also provided an appointment book which could track patients and ensure follow up appointments are audited and actioned, as well as providing the pharmacists with detailed patient anticoagulation history and warfarin dosing algorithms.

Level of patient satisfaction with the service was measured by undertaking an annual patient survey.

What did the evaluation show?

This evaluation supports previous studies which have shown that community pharmacy-based anticoagulation clinics can be safe and clinically effective. Patients’ overall satisfaction for the service over the three years of data was very high, with feedback consistently rating above 98% at a minimum of ‘good’ whilst showing 67% rating the service as excellent. The evaluation has demonstrated that a community pharmacy managed anticoagulation service can achieve clinical outcomes at a level consistently exceeding targets.

Details on other community pharmacy anticoagulant services can be found on the PSNC Services Database.

Categories: National News

Drug Tariff Watch: March 2018 changes

PSNC News - 15 February 2018 - 2:10pm

The Preface lists additions, deletions and alterations to the Drug Tariff. Below is a quick summary of the changes due to take place from 1st March 2018.

Part VIIIA additions

Category A:

  • Fluoxetine 10mg tablets (30)
  • Nystatin 100,000units/g / Chlorhexidine acetate 1% / Hydrocortisone 1% ointment SC (30g)
  • Nystatin 100,000units/g / Chlorhexidine acetate 1% / Hydrocortisone 0.5% cream SC (30g)

Category C:

  • Lanreotide 60mg/0.5ml solution for injection pre-filled syringes SC (1) – Somatuline Autogel
  • Lanreotide 90mg/0.5ml solution for injection pre-filled syringes SC (1) – Somatuline Autogel
  • Mesalazine 250mg gastro-resistant tablets (100) – Salofalk
  • Mesalazine 500mg gastro-resistant modified-release granules sachets sugar free (100) – Salofalk
  • Mesalazine 500mg gastro-resistant tablets (100) – Salofalk
  • Ranitidine 150mg/5ml oral solution sugar free (150ml) – Creo Pharma Ltd
  • Soya oil 84.75% bath oil (1000ml (2xSC 500ml)) – Balneum
  • Soya oil 84.75% bath oil SC (500ml) – Balneum
  • *Tenoxicam 20mg tablets (30) – Mobiflex
  • Terbutaline 2.5mg/5ml solution for injection ampoules (10) – Bricanyl
  • Terbutaline 500micrograms/1ml solution for injection ampoules (5) – Bricanyl

Part VIIIA deletions

  • Alprostadil 5microgram powder and solvent for solution for injection vials (1) – Category C Caverject
  • Carteolol 1% eye drops(5ml) – Category C Teoptic
  • Co-danthrusate 50mg/60mg capsules (63) – Category C Alliance Healthcare (Distribution) Ltd
  • *Tenoxicam 20mg tablets (28) – Category A

Part VIIIA amendments

Change of category/reference product:

  • Amiloride 5mg/5ml oral solution sugar free (150ml) – Amilamont is changing to Rosemont Pharmaceuticals Ltd
  • Colestyramine 4g oral powder sachets sugar free (50) is changing to Category C – Questran Light
  • Docusate 12.5mg/5ml oral solution sugar free (300ml) – Typharm Ltd is changing to Category A
  • Hydroxyzine 10mg tablets (84) – Atarax is changing to Category A
  • Hydroxyzine 25mg tablets (28) – Atarax is changing to Category A
  • Indometacin 100mg suppositories (10) is changing to Category C – Indocid
  • Liothyronine 20microgram tablets (28) AMCo is changing to Category A
  • Nystatin 100,000units/g / Chlorhexidine hydrochloride 1% cream SC (30g) Nystaform is changing Category A
  • Tamoxifen 10mg/5ml oral solution sugar free (150ml) – Soltamox is changing to Rosemont Pharmaceuticals Ltd

Product name change:

  • Dorzolamide 2% / Timolol 0.5% eye drops SC (5ml) Category M is changing to Dorzolamide 20mg/ml / Timolol 5mg/ml eye drops SC (5ml) Category M
  • Dorzolamide 2% / Timolol 0.5% eye drops 0.2ml unit dose preservative free (60 (4xSC 15)) Category C –Cosopt is changing to Dorzolamide 20mg/ml / Timolol 5mg/ml eye drops 0.2ml unit dose preservative free (60 (4xSC 15)) Category C – Cosopt
  • Dorzolamide 2% eye drops SC (5ml) Category M is changing to Dorzolamide 20mg/ml eye drops SC (5ml) Category M
  • Dorzolamide 2% eye drops 0.2ml unit dose preservative free (60 (4xSC 15)) – Trusopt is changing to Dorzolamide 20mg/ml eye drops 0.2ml unit dose preservative free (60 (4xSC 15)) – Trusopt

Part IX deletions

It is important to take careful note of removals from Part IX because if you dispense a deleted product, prescriptions will be retuned as disallowed.

Product Type, Size and Product Code Foley Catheter – 2 Way For Long Term Use – Adult: Rüsch Brillant SilFlate All-Silicone with glycerine filled syringe for balloon inflation and empty syringe for balloon deflation Male, 10ml, 12-24Ch (DG310112 – DG310124) and Female, 10ml, 12-24Ch (DG210112 – DG210124) Hyabak UD eye drops 30 x 0.4ml preservative free single dose unit SurePress Comfort Pro Graduated Compression System (ConvaTec Ltd) (pack contains 1 stocking and 1 liner) Size B – Ankle 20cm-22.5cm, calf 30.5cm-38cm Medicina Ltd, Ace Dressing Standard (SD01) Oakmed Ltd, Oakmed Option PEG dressing for washout set PEG 50-3, PEG 50-7, PEG 75-10 and PEG 75-15 Dansac Ltd, Dansac TRE Seals 50mm (82.5mm diameter), 071-50 Oakmed Ltd, Option Urostomy Bag, Clear with soft covering to one side Clear, pre-cut – 16mm (GC1600C), 19mm (GC1900C), 22mm (GC2200C), 25mm (GC2500C), 32mm (GC3200C) and 38mm (GC3800C)


Want to learn more about recent Dispensing & Supply news? Read our monthly updates here.

Categories: National News

Dispensing & Supply Factsheet: Discount Deduction (February 2018)

PSNC News - 14 February 2018 - 2:46pm

In this PSNC factsheet our Dispensing and Supply Team explains how discount deduction is applied to NHS prescriptions and which products are eligible to be included in the ‘Discount Not Deducted’ list.

PSNC Briefing 010/18: Dispensing & Supply Factsheet – Discount Deduction

If you have any queries on this PSNC Briefing or you require more information, please contact PSNC’s Dispensing & Supply Team.

To browse other PSNC briefings on Dispensing and Supply, click here.

View Article…

Categories: National News

Dispensing & Supply monthly update (February 2018)

PSNC News - 14 February 2018 - 2:43pm

This briefing is part of a series issued regularly by PSNC to inform pharmacy contractors and pharmacy teams on monthly Drug Tariff changes, commonly asked questions and articles regarding dispensing and supply.

This briefing can also be found in the Dispensing & Supply section of February’s CPN.

PSNC Briefing 009/18: Dispensing & Supply monthly update (February 2018)

This month we also published Dispensing & Supply Factsheet – Discount Deduction in CPN.

If you have any queries on this PSNC Briefing or you require more information, please contact the Dispensing & Supply Team.

To browse other PSNC briefings on dispensing and supply click here.

View Article…

Categories: National News

February edition of CPN magazine out now

PSNC News - 14 February 2018 - 2:16pm

The February 2018 edition of PSNC’s Community Pharmacy News (CPN) is now available. This month’s CPN features:

  • Reducing NHS pressures
    • Community pharmacy flu service recommissioned
    • NUMSAS helps patients avoid urgent care visits
  • Price concessions update
  • Discount deduction factsheet
  • PSNC elections

View our CPN magazine online via the flipbook reader below or download the PDF copy. Please note, the colour PDF can be printed out in black-and-white and will still be clear to read.

Please note that CPN magazine is now an online-only publication, so make sure you are signed up for our digital communications.

Categories: National News

CPPE Corner: Patient safety learning campaign begins on 26th February

PSNC News - 13 February 2018 - 3:02pm

The Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) is about to launch its spring learning campaign. We spoke to Annie Sellers, CPPE learning development pharmacist and campaign lead, to find out more.

Our Patient safety spring learning campaign beings on Monday 26th February and runs for six weeks until 6th April, with weekly challenges and new resources to support you to improve patient safety in your practice.

Patient safety is integral to the work that pharmacy professionals carry out, but there will be inherent risks in your practice. Our Patient safety campaign aims to help you identify these risks, reflect on processes and manage incidents when they do occur.

Last year the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched Medication without harm, their third global safety challenge. This safety challenge recognises that unsafe practices and medicine errors pose avoidable risk and cause harm in healthcare systems across the world. At CPPE, we encourage you to take an active role in this WHO campaign by completing our Patient safety learning campaign.

This campaign will be supported by our Risk management guide, which will be posted out to all GPhC registrants. This guide will give important background to the concepts that the campaign explores, as well as providing the basis of the third challenge.

The other challenges in the campaign will involve reflecting on your own practices and having discussions with colleagues, friends and relatives, as well as putting your learning into practice by carrying out a risk assessment and making a pledge to make positive changes in your place of work.

When you complete all six challenges not only will you receive a virtual badge to add to your collection on your CPPE learning record but you will receive a downloadable poster to display which shows your commitment to patient safety. This poster is endorsed by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre.

Throughout the campaign the hashtag #CPPEPS will be used to promote the importance of this learning. Get involved by sharing their successful completion of challenges and see what others have been doing throughout the campaign. Access the CPPE website for more information and regular updates on the campaign.

Categories: National News

Reminder: advising patients on fire risk of paraffin-based emollients

PSNC News - 12 February 2018 - 3:01pm

Pharmacy teams may have seen news coverage over the weekend, prompted by a BBC investigation which has highlighted the fire risk posed by paraffin-based skin emollients. This has been followed by a BBC news story published today, ahead of regional television coverage of the issue this evening on BBC Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. The BBC investigation found that most of the affected emollients do not currently carry warnings despite the known risk.

The BBC coverage highlighted that:

  • clothes and bedding soaked in emollients containing paraffin can easily catch fire; and
  • between 2010 and March 2017 there were 37 deaths in fires linked to paraffin-based emollients.

Pharmacy teams are reminded that the Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency issued a reminder in April 2016 about the need to appropriately advise patients who are being treated with paraffin-based skin products.

There is also an NHS poster available which may be useful to display in pharmacies.

For more information on advice and guidance relating to patient safety which have previously been highlighted as news stories on the PSNC website, please visit the patient safety information page.

Categories: National News

Health & Care Review

PSNC News - 12 February 2018 - 2:33pm

Keeping up with all the latest developments in health and care policy could almost be a full time job and PSNC regularly receives questions from LPCs and pharmacy contractors about what is going on in the wider health and care landscape beyond community pharmacy. To help answer some of these questions and to help contractors and LPCs stay up to date, PSNC provides this update service outlining the latest information in an easily digestible format. Weekly updates are published on our website and contractors can ensure they do not miss them by signing up to PSNC’s email newsletter service here.

The reviews extend the work we have been doing for some time to help LPCs stay informed about the NHS changes, and they inform the more detailed PSNC briefings which we continue to publish on this topic; these can be accessed in the Healthcare Landscape section of the website.

Refreshing NHS Plans for 2018/19

NHS England and NHS Improvement have published joint guidance aimed at commissioners and providers in updating their 2018/19 operational plans. The guidance aims to enable organisations to continue to work together through Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships to develop system-wide plans to improve services and manage within collective budgets.

The guidance covers the financial framework; planning assumptions for emergency care and Referral to Treatment Times; delivery of Next Steps priorities; and integrated system working.

Adult social care workforce statistics released by NHS Digital

NHS Digital has published new statistics relating to adult social care staff who work for local authorities (LAs) in England.

Key statistics include:

  • as of September 2017, there were 109,300 adult social services jobs in LAs (held by around 105,300 people), a decrease of 50,100 LA jobs since 2011;
  • the most commonly cited reasons for these decreases were restructures and service closures; and
  • between 2016 and 2017, the 3% decrease in adult social services jobs in LAs has been the lowest year on year change since 2011.
The adult social care workforce in England

The National Audit Office has published a report which considers the role of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in overseeing the adult social care workforce. It also assesses whether the size and structure of the care workforce are adequate to meet the needs of users in the face of financial challenges and a competitive labour market.

Key problems identified in the report include:

  • turnover and vacancy rates: two roles in particular – care workers and registered nurses – have high vacancy and turnover rates compared with other roles within social care. High vacancy rates and turnover can disrupt the continuity and quality of care for service users and also mean providers incur regular recruitment and induction costs;
  • care work is viewed by the public as low skilled and offering limited opportunities for career progression;
  • the vacancy rate for nurses more than doubled between 2012/13 and 2016/17; and
  • DHSH does not have an up-to-date care workforce strategy and roles and responsibilities of the bodies involved in delivering care are not clear.

The report also makes recommendations to ensure there is a care workforce that is suitably planned, supported and resourced to improve the quality of care and alleviate pressures on the health service.

NHS Health Check: stocktake and action plan

Public Health England (PHE) has published a stocktake and action plan to set out the main areas for development for PHE, LAs and NHS England gain maximum benefit from the NHS Health Check programme.

This set of slides reviews the programme as the first 5-year cycle ends and outlines an action plan for the next cycle focusing on:

  • delivering a high-quality programme;
  • encouraging the development of evidence and research;
  • providing strong leadership; and
  • maximising access to and utility of intelligence.
Using digital technology to improve the public’s health: a guide for local authorities

The Local Government Association has published a guide on how digital technology can be used to improve the public’s health. The guide provides an overview of what is happening locally and features case studies of how local areas have implemented digital approaches to public health. These include in Hertfordshire, wearable sensors worn during an exercise class have allowed for a quick and accurate assessment of an individual’s fall risk instead of a half hour assessment taking place. In North East London, a pilot where pharmacies used a handheld mobile device to test for irregular heartbeats has reduced the time from testing to treatment from 12 weeks to under three.

Commissioner Sustainability Fund and financial control totals for 2018/19: guidance

NHS England has published a guidance document which outlines details of a targeted Commissioner Sustainability Fund (CSF) to support CCGs that would otherwise be unable to live within their means for 2018/19. The CSF is designed to help certain CCGs to return to in-year financial balance, whilst supporting and incentivising CCGs to deliver against their financial control totals.

CSF funding totalling up to £400 million will be allocated to fund in-year CCG deficits in 2018/19. If the amount required to fund CCG deficits is less than £400 million, the balance will be held in reserve by NHS England to cover any further pressures arising during the year.

Tackle falling nursing applications now, urges RCN

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has published a new report, Left to chance: the health and care nursing workforce supply in England which looks at nursing application figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

The report warns that according to UCAS data, the current number of applications for the next academic year has fallen by a third since the same point in 2016, and by 13% since last year.

As a result, the RCN says urgent action is needed to prevent the staffing crisis from getting even worse.

Statistics on Drug Misuse: England, 2018

NHS Digital has published a statistical report relating to drug use in children and adults in England.

Key statistics highlighted include:

  • there were 7,545 hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of drug-related mental health and behavioural disorders. This is 12% lower than 2015/16 but 12% higher than 2006/07;
  • in 2016 there were 2,593 registered deaths in England and Wales related to drug misuse. This is an increase of 5% on 2015 and 58% higher than 2006;
  • in 2016/17, 8.5% of adults aged 16 to 59 in England and Wales had taken an illicit drug in the last year; and
  • in 2016, 24% of pupils reported they had ever taken drugs. This compares to 15% in 2014.
Suicide Prevention: Policy and Strategy

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing which looks at suicides in the UK, and also discusses current suicide prevention policies and strategies. These include health services; education; employment and social security; railways and media.

Key facts include:

  • suicide prevention policy in the UK has, in recent decades, developed and expanded considerably as concerns around suicide rates have intensified;
  • in Great Britain in 2016, there were 5,668 deaths where the cause was identified as suicide; and
  • men are three times more likely than women to take their own lives, and this gender gap has grown in the past 35 years.

While this paper focuses heavily on policies relating to England, it also considers suicide prevention strategies developed and implemented by the governments of Scotland and Wales, as well as the Northern Ireland Executive.

Homeless adults with complex needs: evidence review

PHE has published an evidence review on adults with complex needs, with a particular focus on people begging or living on the streets.

The purpose of the review is to provide an overview of the national picture in relation to homelessness and provide insights into the current evidence base to support action for prevention. It is aimed at local authorities and other stakeholders who are developing strategies and interventions to prevent homelessness and support adults with complex needs.

The report concludes that although there are a number of interventions which are promising in terms of reducing and preventing homelessness, there is no single intervention that will solve the complex issues surrounding homelessness. There needs to be a whole system approach to ensure services developed meet the needs of those who require them.

HPV vaccination for men who have sex with men: year 1 pilot

PHE has published an evaluation of the first year of the human papillomavirus vaccination programme pilot for men who have sex with men (MSM). The pilot used data from clinical recording systems and a survey of individuals receiving the vaccine, together with feedback from clinics and sexual health commissioners in 2016 to 2017.

The first review of the pilot demonstrated that such a programme can be delivered opportunistically in an acceptable and, as far as can be evaluated, equitable manner, without major disruption to Genito-Urinary Medicine and Human Immunodeficiency Virus clinics.

PHE launches opioid treatment quality improvement programme

PHE has announced that it will be launching a new opioid substitution treatment (OST) programme to support services to improve the quality of treatment and increase chances of recovery. The programme will include a focus on psychosocial interventions as well as enhance wider recovery support such as employment, living arrangements, family relationships, trauma and abuse.

PHE urges vigilance about spotting signs of scarlet fever

PHE has published a news article to raise awareness on the signs and symptoms of scarlet fever among parents of children. This follows reports of a substantial increase in cases across England in 2017 to 2018.

The latest Health Protection Report showed 6,225 cases of scarlet fever had been reported since mid-September 2017, compared to 3,764 for the same period last season. There were 719 cases reported for 22-28th January 2018.

Health charge for temporary migrants will increase to £400 a year

DHSC has announced plans to increase the immigration health surcharge paid by temporary migrants in the UK from £200 to £400 per year. The discounted rate for students and those on the Youth Mobility Scheme will increase from £150 to £300.

Health Minister James O’Shaughnessy said: “By increasing the surcharge so that it better reflects the actual costs of using health services, this government is providing an extra £220 million a year to support the NHS.”

Funding boost for new mums’ mental health

NHS England has announced that funding worth £23 million will be made available to improve the mental health of at least 3,000 pregnant women and those who have recently given birth.

The funding is part of the perinatal mental health community services development fund which will see a total of 30,000 additional women getting specialist mental health care, in person and through online consultations.

Media monitoring

On Monday 5th February 2018, the following articles were published:

  • The British Dental Association is warning that a recruitment crisis means patients are facing longer journeys to see an NHS dentist for treatment, reports The Telegraph.
  • The Express warns of an impending liver disease crisis as an investigation revealed a 52% jump in NHS diabetes medication prescriptions – a key cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – since 2010/11.

On Tuesday 6th February 2018, the following articles were published:

  • Public Health England (PHE) is calling for e-cigarettes to be available via NHS prescription and in hospitals to help more people to quit smoking, says The Independent.
  • PHE also wants the Government to make it easier for manufacturers to license e-cigarettes as medical devices. This story was also covered by the BBC, Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Daily Mail, Mirror and Sun.
  • The Express reports that a daily dose of aspirin could cut your risk of getting certain types of cancer by 10%. Cancer Research UK has launched a study to find out how it prevents cancer, and what dose is needed to be most effective.

On Wednesday 7th February 2018, the following articles were published:

  • The Times reports that Jeremy Hunt has announced a review of criminalising doctors.
  •  From April, gay men will be offered the HPV vaccine when they attend sexual health screenings, says The Independent. It has previously only be offered to girls aged 11 to 13. This story was also covered by The Mail.

On Thursday 8th February 2018, the following articles were published:

  • Spending just 10 minutes a day talking to people with dementia about their interests or family could help improve their quality of life, according to a study reported by iNews and the BBC.
  • School programmes encouraging children to take more exercise and eat healthily are unlikely to have any real effect on childhood obesity, report iNews, the Times and BBC. On a similar topic, the Guardian reports that half of all the food bought by families in the UK is now “ultra-processed”.
  • The BBC reports on growing evidence that diet could have an impact on the growth and spread of cancer. This was also reported by the SunExpressIndependent, iNews and the Times.
  • Ibuprofen taken by women in their first three months of pregnancy might reduce a daughter’s number of eggs, potentially affecting the child’s future fertility, according to the Guardian.
  • People who use electronic cigarettes are more vulnerable to pneumonia, warn the TelegraphMail and the Mirror. But PHE says hospitals should stock e-cigarettes for sale to patients, according to the Independent.
  • Low alcohol drinks could be encouraging people to drink more frequently, reports the Telegraph.

On Friday 9th February 2018, the following articles were published:

  • The Guardian reports on a study suggesting that there is no need for an upper limit to folic acid intake.
  • A study has found significant associations between the increased walkability of a neighbourhood, lower blood pressure and reduced hypertension risk among its residents, the Guardian reports.
  • The Sun warns of addiction dangers for young people after figures show that the UK is the second-largest black market for Xanax in the world, after the US. The Guardian also reported on this, citing online pharmacies as a possible source of the medicines.

Categories: National News

CAS alert: Esmya (ulipristal acetate) for uterine fibroids

PSNC News - 10 February 2018 - 10:37am

A new letter has been published on the Central Alerting System website relating to Esmya (ulipristal acetate) for uterine fibroids to be actioned within 48 hours.

The letter highlights new temporary safety measures which have been introduced for Esmya following reports of serious liver injury in women using the medicine for uterine fibroids in adult women of reproductive age.

Update: the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory agency has advised that no new treatment courses should be prescribed until further notice. If women experience symptoms associated with liver problems (nausea, vomiting, feeling ill, lack of appetite, weakness, upper abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin/eyes) then they must stop treatment and seek medical attention immediately.

The emergency contraceptive ellaOne also contains ulipristal acetate (single dose, 30mg). The letter states that no cases of serious liver injury have been reported with ellaOne and there are no concerns with this medicine at this time.

Categories: National News

Contractor Update: Final January 2018 price concessions list

PSNC News - 9 February 2018 - 4:05pm

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has issued a further 12 price concessions for prescriptions dispensed in January 2018. This brings the total granted for January to 68. The full list can be found here.

PSNC Director of Pharmacy Funding Mike Dent said:

“PSNC is pleased that January’s price concessions have been finalised, although once again many are lower than we had sought. We have made DH fully aware of the difficulties faced by contractors when prices are issued so late. Discussions on a new system continue, following the consideration of the topic by PSNC at its January meeting.”

A report of the January PSNC discussions can be found here.

Categories: National News

January 2018 Price Concessions/NCSO (final update)

PSNC News - 9 February 2018 - 4:00pm

Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has today (09/02/2018) granted FINAL price concessions for January 2018. 

The new additions to the January 2018 price concession list are below:

Drug Pack size Price concession Bicalutamide 50mg tablets 28 £14.50 Bicalutamide 150mg tablets 28 £23.00 Eplerenone 50mg tablets 28 £8.29 Levetiracetam 1g tablets 60 £50.00 Levetiracetam 250mg tablets 60 £18.00 Levetiracetam 750mg tablets 60 £51.95 Oxazepam 10mg tablets 28 £12.50 Oxazepam 15mg tablets 28 £13.23 Tolterodine 1mg tablets 56 £2.01 Topiramate 25mg tablets 60 £10.00 Topiramate 50mg tablets 60 £20.00 Topiramate 100mg tablets 60 £40.00

The Department of Health and Social Care previously granted the following price concessions for January 2018:

Drug Pack size Price concession Citalopram 20mg tablets 28 £1.68 Duloxetine 40mg capsules 56 £9.89 Enalapril 5mg tablets 28 £3.00 Enalapril 10mg tablets 28 £3.00 Enalapril 20mg tablets 28 £3.00 Eplerenone 25mg tablets 28 £22.00 Gabapentin 300mg capsules 100 £6.50 Glimepiride 2mg tablets 30 £5.00 Levetiracetam 500mg tablets 60 £27.50 Losartan 100mg tablets 28 £1.50 Mefenamic Acid 500mg tablets 28 £31.94 Pregabalin 225mg capsules 56 £6.00 Terbinafine 250mg tablets 14 £7.73 Tolterodine 2mg tablets 56 £3.50 Venlafaxine 37.5mg tablets 56 £5.99 Venlafaxine 75mg tablets 56 £5.99


Drug Pack size Price concession Amiloride 5mg tablets 28 £4.62 Amlodipine 5mg tablets 28 £1.36 Amlodipine 10mg tablets 28 £1.44 Anastrozole 1mg tablets 28 £6.19 Aripiprazole 5mg tablets 28 £5.43 Aripiprazole 10mg tablets 28 £6.06 Aripiprazole 15mg tablets 28 £5.89 Atorvastatin 80mg tablets 28 £1.79 Chlorpromazine 25mg tablets 28 £32.57 Chlorpromazine 50mg tablets 28 £26.24 Chlorpromazine 100mg tablets 28 £32.44 Citalopram 10mg tablets 28 £1.55 Citalopram 40mg tablets 28 £2.07 Duloxetine 20mg capsules 28 £8.95 Duloxetine 30mg capsules 28 £8.45 Duloxetine 60mg capsules 28 £14.77 Fexofenadine 120mg tablets 30 £2.88 Fexofenadine 180mg tablets 30 £3.68 Gabapentin 400mg capsules 100 £7.45 Glimepiride 1mg tablets 30 £2.81 Glimepiride 3mg tablets 30 £6.94 Glimepiride 4mg tablets 30 £8.48 Hydroxychloroquine 200mg tablets 60 £5.99 Lacidipine 2mg tablets 28 £2.95 Lacidipine 4mg tablets 28 £3.57 Levetiracetam 100mg/ml Solution SF 300ml £7.35 Mebeverine 135mg tablets 100 £4.72 Olanzapine 7.5mg tablets 28 £24.56 Perindopril 2mg tablets 30 £4.69 Perindopril 4mg tablets 30 £6.54 Perindopril 8 mg tablets 30 £6.94 Pregabalin 150mg capsules 56 £4.63 Pregabalin 200mg capsules 84 £6.64 Pregabalin 25mg capsules 56 £7.55 Rasagiline 1mg tablets 28 £4.77 Rizatriptan 10mg tablets 3 £9.88 Tramadol 50mg capsules 30 £0.89 Tranexamic Acid 500mg tablets 60 £13.89 Trimethoprim 50mg/5ml oral suspension SF 100ml £3.99 Vitamin B Co Strong tablets 28 £4.57

Contractors will be alerted to any updates through our website and via our e-news email.  If you wish to subscribe to our email list, you can receive an email as soon as any announcements are made. Please note that PSNC cannot provide details of generic products that are suspected of being affected by generic supply problems unless and until the Department of Health and Social Care grants a concession. No additional endorsements are required for price concessions.The price concession only applies to the month that it is granted.

If you have problems obtaining a Part VIII product or problems obtaining the product at the set Drug Tariff price, please report the issue to PSNC using the online feedback form on the PSNC Website.

If you have been able to source the product, please provide full details of the supplier and price paid. PSNC will investigate the extent of the problem and if appropriate discuss the issue with the Department of Health.

Any further concessions will be posted here on the website.

Categories: National News
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