About me

Rhian Holland

I’m Rhian and my role here at the RPS is as Project manager for the “Now or Never” report. It’s my job to co-ordinate activity to ensure we are delivering on the recommendations laid out in the report. I also work two days at University College London Hospital as a Formulary and Medicines Management Pharmacist. At the weekend I play hockey, bake, read and relax (with a slice of freshly baked cake of course!) You can contact me on rhian.holland@rpharms.com or find me on Twitter @RhiHoll

You may remember my first blog where I talked about the “Medicines Charter for Patients” its a year-long project to engage with patients and the public to find out what they would like their community pharmacist to do for them.  You may wonder why we are doing this... Well, we want to make sure that our profession are putting patients at the centre of everything, in accordance with the NHS Constitution. Having a set of expectations will help patients fully understand the support they can (and indeed should) get. The expectations can also be used to help other members of our healthcare team see how community pharmacists can contribute to integrated delivery of care.

The event we held in March brought together patients to gain their views on what they think their pharmacists can offer them, we then have pulled together all the thinking into overarching principles.  To give you a taster the patients we spoke to would like to have personal choice on the method of communication they use to talk to you,  have access to your expertise on their health condition, use your knowledge to improve their health through signposting and pharmacy based services and to be treated where they want to be treated. They also would like (quite understandably) equality across the country...if they are on holiday, or move home they would like the same expert advice and services available.

We have developed the first draft of the community section of our charter so what we now need are your thoughts and comments – we have asked a few guiding questions, but go wild and pitch in with anything relevant...

  • We want to know if you think our scope was wide enough...or too wide?
  • Are these expectations realistic?
  • Have we missed anything?
  • Have you demonstrated any (or all) of these expectations and do you have any specific examples you can share with us?

Over the coming year we are going to be widening our net and looking at other care-sectors. I am sure there will be overlapping principles as patients don’t fit into just one sector but we don’t want to be too prescriptive in our approach.  The overall charter will have key principles underpinned by expectations of the various settings.

Please return any comments to Heidi Wright (heidi.wright@rpharms.com) by close of play on 9 June 2014.

If you would like to be involved further in this work please contact; Rhian Holland on Rhian.holland@rpharms.con or Catherine Picton on catherinepicton@t-online.de

You may have heard of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Innovators Forum. It’s an opportunity for keen, innovative individuals and leaders from across the profession who share the vision of pharmacists as care givers to come together. Members of the forum are enthused about making innovative practice a vision for the profession, and helping to spread this good practice across health and social care.

The Innovators Forum have chosen a project to move forward with; a referral system focusing on improving medicines safety at transitions of care, which will improve communication and relationships between secondary and primary care and ultimately ensure excellent patient care.

We are aware of some fantastic innovations in this area already such as “Refer to Pharmacy”, now we want to make sure we know about ANY other similar project going on around the country to ensure that we tease out the key elements of the system, overcome barriers and develop the most appropriate tools and resources to aid commissioning.

We need to hear about any innovations/projects/concepts around improving the transition of care between care sectors that YOU know about – whether it’s yours, a friend or a colleague. Please send an overview of the project in a couple of paragraphs and best contact details to me by the 6th June 2014: rhian.holland@rpharms.com. I look forward to hearing about your project – whether it’s big or small!

A new monthly update on “Now or Never” – shaping pharmacy for the future

You may have seen the phrase “Now or Never” maybe as a hashtag on Twitter or even in the Pharmaceutical Journal – it’s the hot topic in pharmacy in England.

So what's it all about?  Last year The Royal Pharmaceutical Society convened an independent report commissioned to look at Future Models of Care that could be delivered through pharmacy. The commission brought together experts from across healthcare to feed in their thoughts on our future roles in the changing NHS. Recommendations were made to RPS (as well as to people like NHS England and the Department of Health) about how these changes could happen.

This blog is a chance for you to see where we are with those recommendations. The English board Chair, Dave Branford, said he wouldn’t let the report “sit on the shelf” so my role is to help RPS deliver on that promise. This month we are going to be looking at two big ones; leadership and awareness.

Spreading pharmacy innovation across England

The “Now or Never” report told us we needed to have a stronger voice and suggested the development of a forum of dynamic innovators. We did, and we named it the “Innovators Forum.” As Gibson said “the future is here…it’s just not very evenly distributed”. He was absolutely spot-on, practice in pharmacy has been making leaps and bounds over the last decade but is it happening everywhere? Not yet! That’s where the Innovators Forum comes in - it’s a gathering of forward-thinking, like-minded pharmacists sharing innovative practice and thinking about spreading it across England.

At the first meeting the atmosphere was buzzing with great examples of practice flying in from all sectors,  joined-up care in Northumbria, direct referral from secondary to primary care in East Lancashire (just a taster, we’ll be sharing more with you over the coming months). The group will be re-convening quarterly – the next meeting will decide on the innovations we will try and push forward. Our board members Claire and Mahendra are working with me to make sure we do everything we can to help. But what about you? We’re clear that scaling up these ideas is imperative so we will be producing toolkits for commissioners to implement these ideas across England. Watch this space!

Producing a charter for patients

Everything we do is patient-centered, and we want to take on more responsibility for patient care. As a pharmacist I’m keen we’re not seen as tablet-counters – I’ve trained for 5 years to become a health professional and I want my profession to be recognised for our expertise and skills! The “tablet-counters” stereotype needs to be changed (although my seven times table has never been more up-to-scratch!)

The RPS have been charged with raising “public and wider expectation about what people should expect from pharmacy”. How? Well, we need to start somewhere so we began with the centre of everything; the patient. Creating an expectation from patients as to what they want from their pharmacist is absolutely vital so we have begun a year long project that will create a “Medicines Charter for Patients”. An event at the RPS asking patients what they wanted from their community pharmacist had a fantastic turnout with reps from; Macmillan, Diabetes UK, Mind, Age UK, Parkinson’s UK and many more. The day began with a question “what do you think about your community pharmacist?” A chance to be open and honest - there was so much positivity coming through about the relationships that you build with your patients, that you know them and their situations – which I believe is so, so important. As expected there were some comments about our overlapping role with doctors and our support team (who does what and when!?) and a lack of privacy when consulting, something we are addressing with the RPS response to the NHS England Call to Action. We then asked what patients really, really want from their community pharmacists and they had a lot of ideas. Here's a few of them:

  • Medicines reviews in a convenient location for the patient
  • Expert advice
  • Integration, integration, integration!

Nina Barnett, pharmacist who kindly gave up time to help us on the day put this really well:

“Patients are at the centre of all we do and we need to keep in mind what THEY want.  Some patients want to be in the driving seat steering their condition and treatment …others want to be in the backseat with us, as healthcare professionals’, driving. What WE need to do is work out where patients want us and support them for the whole journey“.

What happens next? We’ll be working with patients to develop these expectations (e.g. I expect to have access to expertise on my condition). A consultation process will begin in May and we hope to be publishing the outcomes in June 2014. We will be hosting similar days focused on hospitals and care homes. This will all feed in to an overarching “Medicines Charter for Patients’” which will be in line with the NHS Constitution.

The time for action and change is NOW! So, get involved by selling our profession the way it deserves to be!

Next month: Our political agenda