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PDA writes to Chancellor of the Exchequer to help prevent medicines shortages

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to offer a ‘professionally-led’ approach to help prevent medicines shortages as part of the current preparations for Brexit.

Wed 28th August 2019 The PDA

The PDA is the UK’s largest membership organisation and trade union working exclusively for individual pharmacists. With over 29,000 members, the majority of which are employee and locum pharmacists working across all sectors in hospitals, primary care, GP Practice, Care Homes and community pharmacy.

The proposals being made by the PDA follow a recent report published by Age UK featured in the Mail on Sunday this week, which has revealed that one in five pensioners takes seven pills every day and millions are being given drugs that they don’t even need. The report states that many older people are being let down by a healthcare system that is allowing medicines to do more harm than good. This problem is being allowed to persist because of systematic failings in care co-ordination and individual responsibility.
Roughly a fifth of all medicines are being incorrectly prescribed producing unnecessary side effects such as falls, nausea, delirium and weight loss. The government’s own figures show that around 8% of hospital beds are taken up by patients suffering from Adverse Drug Reactions.
The PDA has proposed a new quality service which could be provided by pharmacists in hospitals, GP Practices, Care Homes and especially in community pharmacies, which are visited by six million patients each week. This new service would see tens of thousands of pharmacists being given more time to have longer and more detailed conversations with millions of patients, especially those in high-risk groups about the use of their medicines.
“Healthcare professionals are working hard, but we need to be working smarter. If pharmacists as the medicines experts can, through dialogue and education help the public to appreciate what their medicines really do for them, both the good and the bad (when taken incorrectly or unnecessarily) it is highly likely that they will be happy, where appropriate to reduce in a planned way the levels of medication that they are taking. 
Furthermore, such a conversation is likely to lead to an increase in the number of patients who will take a keener interest in their condition and their treatment, this will have a profoundly beneficial effect upon their health, the NHS and ultimately the taxpayer, says Mark Koziol, Chairman of the PDA.
Mark continued: “All parts of the pharmacy sector have been engaged in the Governments Community Pharmacy Brexit Forum, to participate in the detailed planning process to improve the supply of medicines after Brexit. However, we believe that whilst these existing plans have been largely logistical, the more professionally-led proposals that we are now making could complement them by safely delivering a reduction in the demand for medicines.
If we take the opportunity to reduce unnecessary supplies of medicine, it would not only relieve the pressure on the supply chain but would deliver long-term sustainable benefits to patients, many of whom are currently subjected to chronic over-prescribing of medicines. In this way, this service benefits the population way after the Brexit process has been and gone.” 
HM Treasury has indicated that there are significant funds available to support all parts of the UK to prepare for Brexit, especially should this take place in the circumstances of no deal. The PDA believes that there is now an opportunity to use such emergency funding for this new pharmacist-led service.
The PDA end the letter by offering to support the widening of the governments Brexit planning process as a matter of priority.

Have your say on brexit medicines by completing our short Survey

The PDA seeks the current views of frontline pharmacists. If you would like to have your say, please complete our short Brexit Medicines Survey by Friday 6 September 2019.

Your response to this survey will be kept anonymous.

Complete the survey here

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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