Pharmacies supporting local people
A recent visit to Kanset pharmacy in Ham near Richmond taught me a lot about the important and varied role of pharmacies and how they are taking pressure off GPs and hospitals in providing timely and flexible clinical support and health advice to the local community.
During my visit on a cold, wet morning in January, I received their customary warm welcome as described by those who give it a five star rating on the NHS Choices website. Online reviews of this family run pharmacy describe it as 'truly excellent,' highly valued, friendly and much appreciated by the local community.
Kanset pharmacy had recently undergone a complete refit, and owner Dipak Nandha is very proud of the results. He says: "We could have just kept doing what we were doing, but with an awareness of our patients' expectations of us to be the best we can, to improve patient safety and to increase the services we offer we decided to take the plunge and re-model our business by investing in major improvements."
"One of the prime considerations was to improve the dispensary area – which felt crowded, making it difficult for the dispensary team to work together in it at any one time. We had it completely re-designed and are very happy with the results! We've improved the workflow by making it more spacious, which is helping us to work more efficiently and reduce the risk of medication errors as colleagues can now work together with less disruption.
"Another major change has been our new clinical consultation room, which has given us a much improved private space in which to give advice and provide health services to our clients locally."
The pressure on GPs in the local area is well known so this pharmacy like many others has taken on new areas of work to help manage that pressure. Pharmacy locations and opening hours make them convenient and very accessible.
A range of vaccinations are on offer here including the winter flu vaccination, meningitis and pneumonia vaccination. Dipak and his team offer an emergency contraceptive service, a chlamydia screening and treatment service and NHS Health Checks. There is also a Pharmacy First service to help with a range of minor ailments. All of the above services are now provided through the new consultation area, comfortably and confidentially. A needle exchange service based in the pharmacy, is well used and helps to reduce HIV cases and its transmission in the local community.
Medicine use reviews are also carried out here. These are done to support patients with long term conditions or who have recently been discharged from hospital to check that they are using their medicines correctly and therefore getting the most out of them.
Dipak talked about the new medicines service, "We're delighted to be providing this service because we know that 40% of people taking a new medicine stop taking it during the first couple of weeks. This can be due to the side effects and we find that they often just need a bit of encouragement and a reminder of the importance of the medicines to keep taking them. Pharmacies now have access to the NHS patient summary care record, a confidential clinical record, which includes a list of the medicines which have been prescribed and this has paved the way for pharmacists to make safer and more informed decisions when delivering pharmacy services to patients."
I notice there is a space dedicated as a healthy living zone full of useful health information about everything from the benefits of vaccination, to breastfeeding advice for mums and how to stay warm during winter. Smoking cessation leaflets point people to a smoking cessation service based in Kanset pharmacy. This reminds me of a comment I read on NHS Choices: "My son has had this addiction for most of his adult life. Thanks to the care and counselling given to him by the pharmacist he has now been free of this habit for some time. His family are so grateful to the care and attention shown to him."
"Our vision was to raise the profile of our pharmacy so it is at the forefront of healthcare serving our local community in Ham, as the first port of call," adds Dipak.
I'm impressed by the range of services being offered by the friendly team at Kanset pharmacy and agree with local people that this is a fantastic local resource!