An Interprofessional Learning symposium on the holistic management of patients who fall

On the 21st February 2019, pharmacy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy students came together for a one day inter-professional symposium on falls. The day started with an engaging and informative keynote speech from Dr Colin Mitchell, Consultant in Geriatric Medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College NHS Healthcare Trust. This was followed by expert patients sharing their experience of falls and the impact falls have had on their quality of life.

The students then split into small groups to complete video cased based learning and simulation activities. For the simulation activities students wore visual impairment glasses and attempted to read and complete a NHS menu choice form, then read the label on a box of medicine and the patient information leaflet inside. Students (in pairs – one wearing the visual impairment glasses and ear plugs and one as a safety guide) then walked around the Palmer building and the quad, identifying and reflecting on any hazards and difficulties experienced.











Students then put on bariatric and elderly simulation suits. Students began by lying on the floor, as though they had fallen, and attempted to get back up. Once up, the students complete a series of physiotherapy rehabilitation tasks. The simulation suits made all these tasks more challenging for students, in particular struggling to get up off the floor and tiring quicker.

The feedback from students was very positive. For the simulation activities, they stated they enjoyed putting themselves in the patients’ eyes/body and they have a much better appreciation of the challenges patients face. They also identified ways as healthcare professionals they could make changes to help these patients e.g. reading out the menu choices, large-print labels for medicines and modifying physiotherapy exercises.











Catherine Langran, Lecturer, School of Pharmacy

Benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines use for primary insomnia in Saudi Arabia

PhD Researcher, Ali Dhobia, presenting the findings of his project at the School of Pharmacy Research & Scholarship Seminar

Background: Despite the increasing use of benzodiazepines (BZDs) and Z-drugs for insomnia, there are no KSA guidelines or data on prescribing patterns.

Aim: To explore prescribing practices for treating insomnia in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and to begin the development of national guidelines.

Method: A mixed methods design was used in three phases. I: A retrospective audit of patients prescribed BZDs or Z-drugs for insomnia (April 2012 to March 2017) in King Fahad Central Hospital in Jazan, KSA.Audit criteria were based on two US guidelines. Descriptive statistics, using STATA, were used to report findings. II: A qualitative study of physicians’ knowledge, perceptions and attitudes about treating primary insomnia and using US guidelines. Thematic analysis, using NVivo, was applied. III: Guideline development used an e-Delphi technique. We recruited 17 insomnia experts who participated in developing consensus (≥ 80% agreement) around future national guidelines.

Results: Phase I: Of 504 records retrieved over five years, 379 patients (75%) were prescribed BZDs or Z-drugs; only 182 (48%) had documented use. Of 307 patients (60%) diagnosed with insomnia, none received cognitive behaviour therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). No patients were reviewed by physicians for long-term use. No records met all criteria. Phase II: Perceptions and attitudes of physicians in KSA toward using US or other international guidelines were based on knowledge, resistance and the presence of barriers and facilitators. Phase III: Sixteen statements fulfilled the criteria to be included in future KSA guidelines.

Conclusion: The Ministry of Health should enhance public awareness about insomnia, provide training, improve administration, and encourage documentation. The consensus guidelines developed will standardize the use of BZDs and Z-drugs in the treatment of primary insomnia among Saudi adults. With these guidelines evidence will be translated into best practice by practitioners in Saudi Arabia.

Careers Fair 2019

The Reading University School of Pharmacy held its annual careers fair on Monday 18th February 2019. The event was a huge success and provided all MPharm students with an excellent opportunity to find out about various companies/ training programmes available and interact with potential summer placement and Pre-Registration employers. There were 25 exhibitors, including representatives from community, hospital, the military, industry and research. For the first time this year, there was a stand “Meet the ex-Reading Pre-Regs” where MPharm graduates from different sectors shared their experiences and provided advice to current students.

What does the future of Pharmacy look like?

By Casra Momtahen, 2nd year M(Pharm) student

As a pharmacy student, it’s always inspiring to hear of the impact pharmacists can have on UK healthcare. Most notably so from the Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Dame Sally Davies, who expressed how proud she was of the teamwork between herself and Pharmacists during her time as a practicing physician. Further advocating how our NHS is a team, in which we are all key players. The future of life sciences and healthcare panel was among various presentations exhibiting the latest advancements in pharmaceutical and healthcare research at the RPS Science and Research Summit 2019. The main talking points of the conference were Diabetes, antimicrobial resistance, and the use of digital technology to improve Healthcare provision.

It is estimated that 5 million people will have diabetes by 2025 in the UK, emphasised by Professor Gino Martini, Chief Scientist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. His personal story about his father’s struggles with type 2 diabetes stressed some of the reasons why so many people go into healthcare. And to see what drives a valued member of the RPS is inspiring to say the least. And in the spirit of an ever-diversifying society, Professor Mahendra G. Patel highlighted the importance of tailored and personal healthcare in patients living with diabetes. For example, teaching pharmacists how to help Muslim patients manage their diabetes during the month of Ramadan.

“The Pharmacist’s role in antimicrobial stewardship is ever evolving” Professor Davies explained in her Keynote presentation. The Chief Medical Officer advocated the importance of looking beyond human antibiotic use, onto that of veterinary use also. Professor Davies’ also exhibited the work of the Fleming Fund, a foundation dedicated to promoting antimicrobial stewardship in low- and middle-income countries. On behalf of the fund, volunteer Pharmacists can be sent to various Commonwealth countries to promote antimicrobial stewardship, an inspiring example of how pharmacist’s potential for international influence.

In the spirit of the 21st century, Muhammed Hussain, senior clinical lead for NHS digital, highlighted the work being done looking at AI systems and other sophisticated technology to further benefit patients and healthcare professionals. For example, Mr Hussain presented one potential solution where summary care records can be monitored from the patient’s phone. This would allow the patient to be notified if their summary care records have been accessed and by whom. Mr Hussain explained how this can further put patients in control of their own healthcare. However, with every technological advancement, there are always data protection considerations, especially when healthcare and confidentiality is involved. On the theme of taking healthcare online, Dr Andy Blackwell, Chief Science Officer at Ieso Digital Health, presented an online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) system, where patients can undergo therapy through an online instant messaging platform. Dr Blackwell explained how this allows for easier monitoring and supervision of therapy sessions. The new platform also showed improvements in adherence, where in the modern world, for most it is easier to access an online platform than a psychotherapist’s office.

The undergraduate perspective of a science and research summit is a strange mixture of daunting and inspiring. It gives one a glance at the limitless nature of research, whilst at the same time the vastness of knowledge yet to be understood. On behalf of myself and the students who attended the conference, I would like to thank Professor Green for sponsoring our attendance.