Community pharmacists are playing a ‘key role’ in a pioneering acute kidney injury (AKI) prevention programme.

The initiative, spearheaded by Salford CCG and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, brings together GPs and pharmacists in a campaign that aims to prevent cases of AKI and optimise vascular health in primary care.

Both pharmacies and GP practices are handing out ‘sick day rules’ cards to patients who take ACE inhibitors, ARBs, NSAIDs, diuretics and diabetes drug Metformin.

The wallet-sized card advises patients to stop taking their medication if they are suffering from vomiting, diarrhoea, fevers, sweats or shaking to avoid damaging their kidneys.

“Community pharmacists are playing a key role in this work and we’re trying to engage as many of them in Salford as possible,” said Dr Susan Howard, a programme manager at the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (NIHR CLAHRC) Greater Manchester.

“We’re working with all 60 of the community pharmacies in Salford, as well as Salford’s GP practices.”

One in five emergency hospital admissions are associated with AKI.

The preventable syndrome is costly and can significantly impact both short and long-term outcomes.

Howard said: “Working with pharmacists is incredibly important, because they are the people who come into contact with these patients so often when dispensing medicines.”

The sick day rules card is the first phase of the two-stage project.

In the early stages educational events brought together pharmacists and GPs to resolve any issues they may have working collaboratively, such as information sharing to support pharmacists in providing a broader level of patient care.

Stage two will focus on the facilitated implementation of kidney health initiatives, by medicine management pharmacists supporting primary care.

Howard adds: “Looking forward, the next phase involves new medicine management pharmacists working closely with GP practices to deliver this work.”