Ashtons 8th Annual Pharmacist Conference

 In Medicines Management Processes, Mental Health, Pharmacy Information

In October, the 8th Annual Ashtons Pharmacist Conference took place in London. This was an opportunity for all our pharmacists to meet up, participate in educational sessions, and share ideas. The pharmacists are based nationwide so that they can visit their local hospitals, so it is a rare occasion for them all to meet up face-to-face.

The theme throughout the two days was ‘Striving Together towards Excellence’ and our focus was improving the quality of services for our healthcare clients and medicine optimisation for all our patients.

Keynote speakers at our Pharmacist Conference

Glen Monks, Managing Director of Lucent Management Consulting, provided an update on the organisation of healthcare services in the UK and explained the role of commissioners, regulators and providers in the context of financial constraints and increased demands for services.

Professor Stephen Bazire MBE discussed the best methods for communicating clinical information to patients and focused on the use of information technology to achieve this more effectively. Professor Bazire was Chief Pharmacist for NHS mental health services in Norfolk from 1986 to 2011 and he is the author of the “Psychotropic Drug Directory” (26 editions, over 500,000 copies sold). He is also responsible for developing the online resources Choice & Medication and MaPPs which are both available on the Ashtons Live View system.

Professor Khalida Ismail specialises in Psychiatry and Medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London and is a Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Her research has been translated into innovative clinical services such as the 3 Dimensions of Care for Diabetes service (3DFD) which won 3 Quality in Care Awards in 2011. Professor Ismail spoke about diabetes in patients with mental health problems.

Dr Ashok Kumar is a Consultant Psychiatrist who works for Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Partnership Trust. He has held the position of Royal College Tutor since 2005 and is a member of the Public Editorial Board, at the Royal College of Psychiatrists since 2004. He discussed the metabolic side effects of antipsychotics and the ways of mitigating these problems including the benefits of the antipsychotic lurasidone (Latuda®).

Sharing experience amongst colleagues

To support the external training, sharing expertise amongst our own pharmacists is also a crucial part of the conference. Every year we include a series of presentations, each delivered by one of the pharmacists in one of their particular areas of expertise.

This year included presentations covering a variety of subjects. These included ‘Adverse skin reactions to Anti-epileptics’ by Vishal Thanki, ‘Epilepsy and Mental Health’ by Miguel Zalacain and ‘Pain Management in Palliative Care’ by Hazel Robinson. All these presentations were extremely insightful and really helped to underline how sharing expertise in this way amongst a pharmacist team can help build both a strong team spirit and outstanding clinical understanding.

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