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Brought to you by the team behind the Pharmaceutical Journal, the PJ Pod will keep you one step ahead of developments in pharmacy, medicines and the pharmaceutical sciences. Get exclusive behind-the-scenes access to our expert journalists and special guests, who will be sharing their knowledge and insight.

Becoming a pharmacist prescriber: the highs and lows

From 2026, all pharmacists will be independent prescribers when they first qualify. But that leaves a whole cohort of non-prescribing pharmacists already in the workforce, many of whom do not want to be left behind.

In this episode of The PJ Pod, we accompany three pharmacists — Isabel Macho and Isheeta Mendiratta, who work in primary care, and community pharmacist Rachael Patel — as they train to become independent prescribers. We get the inside track on what motivates them and how they have managed to complete the course alongside a demanding job, as well as the highs and the lows, and whether it was all worth it.

We also hear from Danny Bartlett, a primary care network pharmacist, who is a designated prescribing practitioner and teaches on the University of Brighton's independent prescribing course. He gives insights on how to succeed on the course and what needs to change to smooth the path for more pharmacists in the workforce to become independent prescribers.

This episode was presented by Dawn Connelly, senior features editor, and produced by Geoff Marsh.

Homecare services in crisis

In November 2023, an investigation by The Pharmaceutical Journal revealed that two-thirds of patient safety incidents related to homecare medicine provision were for services provided by the company Sciensus, according to the latest data provided by NHS trusts.

The findings came after the House of Lords Public Services Committee opened an inquiry into homecare medicines services in May 2023, following press reports of complaints from patient organisations and others about the service provided.

The inquiry has since published its findings, warning that “serious problems” with the provision and governance of homecare medicines services in England are putting patients’ health at risk.

In this ‘Spotlight’ episode of The PJ Pod, Carolyn Wickware, executive editor, Dawn Connelly, senior features editor, and freelance journalist Alison Moore explain the investigation’s findings, as well as the impact on patients and what the next steps are towards improving homecare services.

This episode was produced by Geoff Marsh.

Spotlight: Deprescribing research

The term 'deprescribing' refers to the tapering, stopping, discontinuing, or withdrawing of medications for the benefit of patients. It was first used 20 years ago in an article titled 'Deprescribing: achieving better health outcomes for older people through reducing medications' by Michael C. Woodward. Since then, the body of literature has exploded.

In this 'spotlight' episode of The PJ Pod, we talk to the author of a paper about deprescribing inappropriate analgesia in community pharmacy, from our sister journal, the International Journal of Pharmacy Practice (IJPP), and to the guest editor of a themed collection on deprescribing, which was recently published by IJPP. The collection features a range of article types from across the globe and captures the breadth of research that is taking place across sectors in different patient groups, to better understand how deprescribing can become part of routine practice.

Listen again

Did you miss an episode? Don't worry, every PJ Pod episode is available to listen again below.

BTK inhibitors: what pharmacists need to know

Spotlight: the story behind the ADHD prescribing surge

End-of-life drugs at home: closing the care gap

Spotlight: Questions over Pharmacy First

Psychedelic drugs: the new frontier for mental health

Spotlight: The truth about weight-loss injections

Coping with the ‘Davina effect’ on HRT

Spotlight: Ethnicity and the pharmacy degree

Effective deprescribing: getting the most from medicine

Spotlight: The ‘new thalidomide’

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