Reading School of Pharmacy and the Pharmacy Department within Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust are being funded by Janssen Pharmaceuticals to track the progress of some patients with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a long-term mental health condition that causes a range of symptoms including hallucinations, unusual beliefs, muddled thoughts and changes in behaviour. The researchers, Dr Parastou Donyai and Kate Masters, who are also pharmacists, and postdoctoral research fellow Dr Tamara Tompsett, will look at whether paliperidone palmitate long-acting injection improves patients’ wellbeing as well as their satisfaction with medication. They will work with colleagues based at Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and community-based practitioners to track patients’ progress for a period of 12 months. The study is important because it investigates the use of paliperidone palmitate outside of a formal clinical-trial setting, and links in with the latest measures that are being used by clinicians to gauge improvements in everyday situations. If these new ways of tracking progress in patients with schizophrenia prove useful then this study can impact on the way studies measure the value gained from medicines in the future.
On Tuesday 10 March 2015 staff and students at the School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy (SCFP) at the University of Reading attended a lunchtime event hosted by the SCFP Athena SWAN committee’s chairperson, Dr Joanne Elliott. The event “Heroines of Science” was scheduled to coincide with International Women’s Day (8 March) and a number of staff made presentations celebrating the past achievements of female scientists.
Pharmacy Practice staff supported the event through their attendance and Dr Parastou Donyai presented a brief history of Women in Pharmacy around the time of the formation of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and succeeding decades. Nineteenth Century attitudes to women in pharmacy were certainly very different to present-day Britain as this contribution to The Pharmaceutical Journal in 1873 makes clear!
The National Association of Women Pharmacists (NAWP) (http://www.nawp.org.uk/) has existed for over 100 years and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has very recently launched the Women in Pharmacy network.
On 3 March 2015, Dr Parastou Donyai and Mr Dan Grant attended the London registration assessment briefing seminar run by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) to learn about the new-style registration assessment being introduced by the pharmacy regulator from June 2016 onwards. After an introduction by Damian Day, Dan and Parastou learnt in detail about the forthcoming changes as representatives of the GPhC Education team and Board of Assessors explained all. From 2016 onwards, candidates (the current cohort of Part 4 students and anyone retaking their registration assessment) will be required to sit two separate papers as follows. The first will contain 40 calculation questions – calculators allowed but importantly, answers are not from a multiple choice list! The second paper will contain 120 MCQ questions – 90 Single Best Answer questions and 30 Extended Matching Items. We were reassured by the fact that the more complex MCQs have now been removed. We look forward to supporting our students to prepare for the registration assessment through our normal processes which includes the use of virtual learning and a separate registration assessment training day for Reading graduates about to sit the exam. But one thing is for sure, nothing can replace the quality of the pre-registration training that candidates receive as the questions all focus on patient cases and application of knowledge.