Ask Your Pharmacist Week (5-12 November) has kicked off, with pharmacies around the country holding events and providing information relating to the theme Let’s Talk Medicines Safety.
The National Pharmacy Association says the theme of this year’s campaign forms part of its response the World Health Organization’s challenge of reducing the amount of harm caused by medicines by 50 per cent globally.
The WHO “has identified that effective communication between patients and healthcare professionals is an essential element of medicines safety,” the NPA says.
To support AYP Week, pharmacies are displaying posters and distributing flyers to facilitate conversations with patients around medicines use. On social media, the hashtags #talkmeds and #askyourpharmacist will be in use throughout the week.
THe NPA says that taking part in the initiative generates positive local publicity for pharmacies and serves evidence for inspectors of commitment to patient safety.
NPA head of communications Stephen Fishwick said: “As usual, Ask Your Pharmacist Week is an opportunity for pharmacies to promote awareness of the services they offer and to highlight the expert advice available in pharmacies. This year’s campaign has a particular focus on improving safe medicines use by encouraging dialogue and empowering patients.”
A spokesperson for Lincolnshire Co-op, which is taking part in the week’s activities, said: “It’s important that patients feel able to ask pharmacists anything at all about their medicines, health and wellbeing. In particular, we want to promote joint decision-making – with patients and carers playing a more active role in their medication management and comfortable to raise any concerns they may have.
“As well as the main aim of the campaign – improving safe medicines use among our patients – there are other benefits from taking part. One of the outcomes we hope to see by taking part in Ask Your Pharmacist Week is an increased number of patients making good use of MURs and NMS in our pharmacies.”
Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “Having a good understanding of how their medicines work helps patients take an active role in their own care.
“Patients should give full and clear information to their pharmacist and be supported to demand full and clear advice in return.
“We encourage pharmacists to get involved in Ask Your Pharmacist week and to continue a healthy dialogue with patients all year round.”