Pharmacy technician Shamma Baig from The Priory Community Pharmacy in Dudley, talks to Saša Janković about setting up a community pharmacy and primary care cross-sector collaborative-working falls service.

Service type: Community Pharmacy and Primary Care cross sector collaborative working falls clinic.

Name and location of pharmacy: The Priory Community Pharmacy, Dudley.

Your job title at the pharmacy: Falls Pharmacy Technician

When did you start offering this service? Late 2017

Why did you start offering this service? 

We started offering this service in 2017. We designed this as a pilot service to review patients who were at risk of falls due to their medication, i.e. on high risk falls medication. First the first couple of years it ran for 2-3 days a week in our pharmacy and has since branched out to other primary care locations, and is due to expand into the other pharmacies in Dudley.

What, if any, training did you or other team members have to undergo? 

I have developed skills in conducting level 1 and level 2 medication reviews and have upskilled myself to calculate FRAX scores, carry out vascular age health assessments as well as blood pressure checks.

In a nutshell, what does the service involve? 

We invite patients who currently have medication dispensed at the pharmacy for a medication review in relation to their prescribed medicines that carries a high risk for falls. I will check the patient’s medication, suggest any alternatives, address compliance issues and work with them to encourage compliance.

Are there any opportunities to sell OTC or prescription products during or after the consultation? 

We can make suggestions for OTC purchases if that is suitable from the review. Prescription medication changes are updated on the patient’s GP records and any alterations to their medication list are authorised by an Older Persons’ Specialist Pharmacist and sent to the pharmacy for dispensing. The whole process of any changes and modifications is streamlined through the pharmacist prescribing and electronically issuing the medication to the pharmacy, which is then processed and ready for them to collect within a matter of days.

How have patients responded to the service? 

Patients have been very positive about the falls medication review clinics based at Priory Community Pharmacy. They have told us that they appreciate the extensive review that we undertake, as well as the holistic approach of the review that personalises the communication between the patient, me and the pharmacist.

We know that patients have used the clinic as a platform to ask medication queries and questions that they have not thought to ask their GP previously. The fact that the review and any medication changes are updated by the pharmacist onto their PMR at the GP surgery provides them with reassurance that they can have further conversations and refer to our review with the GP staff if they want to. The feedback we get from patients is that they tend to enjoy the experience, and we hope to restart the clinic as soon as Covid restrictions ease and allow us to do so.

Roughly how often each month do you carry out the service? 

Once a month.

How much do you charge for the service? 

It’s free.

Roughly how much a month do you make from offering the service? 

There is no financial benefit to us from this service; the benefit is all for patient care.

Would you recommend offering this service to other contractors? 

Of course – it’s a great initiative. The satisfaction that the patients express from a face-to-face holistic medication review is very rewarding and humbling, but as well as the benefits to patients, the inception of this clinic has helped me gain and manifest my ability to undertake level 1 and 2 medication reviews. These exciting ways of advanced working skills are insightful for other pharmacy technicians to be inspired to cultivate their talents and see fruition in recognition and patient satisfaction. The innovation of this novel clinic has also shown pharmacy professionals how pharmacy technicians can be developed and utilised in many ways inclusive of dispensary duties.