Monthly Archives: June 2014


The Hackett Report in 2011 heralded a new dawn in the delivery of medicines in the NHS.

But what’s happened since then?

Homecare is taxing the minds of Hospital Chief Pharmacists once again in a resource stretched NHS.

Have we moved forward?

A survey by phone of 5 major Acute Trusts would appear to answer in the negative.

Outsourcing…setting up of subsidiary companies……just two examples of attempted solutions.

Just to complete the story…some Commissioning Support Units are now actively investigating how Homecare can be used to make non PbR products available to patients which have not yet been formally commissioned by NHS England.

Confused?…come to the Pharmacy Management National Forum on November 18th.

Satellite Sessions and networking with colleagues should assist in clearing the haze.


Papa’s got a brand new bag

The proposal in the Queen’s Speech to introduce a 5p plastic bag tax to those parts of the UK that don’t already have one seems to have had a mixed press last week.

There will be exemptions for small businesses, but trying to think this morning how I can dispense for some of our patients without using a plastic bag to keep it together has been a bit mind-boggling. Tips from colleagues from Wales would be gratefully received (hint, hint).

But there is an aspect of this I hadn’t thought of, and I’m indebted to Allister Heath’s article in City A.M. last week for raising the subject.

  • An American study has shown that reusing plastic bags led to a 25% increase in admissions with food poisoning.
  • According to the Food Standards Agency, campylobacter alone is linked to about 460,000 poisoning cases, 22,000 hospital admissions and 110 deaths.

Increasing that by 25% would add over 5000 hospital admissions to the caseload, not to mention a score of potential fatalities.

As if the NHS hadn’t got enough to do…

Singing the blues

Blues music is divisive.

I can see its attractions, whereas my brother regards it as whining set to music.

In telling of the hardships of life, it hardly causes the listener to spring in the air and celebrate the joys of existence.

It wouldn’t surprise me if a pharmacist isn’t tuning up his banjo now to extemporise a blues on medicines shortages.

  • PSNC has a whole section of its website on the subject
  • The Chemist and Druggist had a scathing lead editorial recently on the government’s response

And your writer gets a regular ear-bashing from his wife – a community pharmacist – who complains that her PMR system shows that over a quarter of the medicines she is trying to get for her patients are either unavailable or subject to quotas.

A quick check this morning showed that one company alone has 192 items it is unable to supply.

The average community pharmacist is spending up to an hour a day trying to source products that have already been prescribed.

They understand some of the difficulties but, frankly, they don’t care.

They just want to supply their patients.

They don’t want to have to fax prescriptions or argue with a salesperson about why a doctor has prescribed 56 days’ supply for a patient.

If there’s an answer to this, let’s hear it. Going on as we are can’t be an option.