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Community pharmacy project launched to improve asthma care


A community pharmacy project to support patients with asthma to change their behaviour and improve control of their condition has been launched in North West London.

The initiative, by the North West London Local Practice Forum of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, involves 24 community pharmacy teams which have undergone training in clinical aspects of asthma, issues around unwarranted variation of care and the Asthma Right Care social movement.

In addition they have been given a pack signposting them to PCRS, Primary Care Respiratory Academy and other educational resources to study in their own time.

Over the next six months the effectiveness of the training and the impact on patients will be assessed with pre and post training questionnaires. A key measure will be the change in awareness of the relationship between the number of short acting beta agonist (SABA) inhalers prescribed per year and the number of breathless episodes experienced by a patient each week.

Darush Attar-Zadeh, PCRS member, Respiratory Lead Pharmacist at Barnet CCG, and a member of the team which developed the initiative, says: “Over the duration of the project these upskilled pharmacy teams, could see up to 250 patients with asthma between them.  The pharmacists will be measuring patients’ peak flows, having conversations with them about whether they have a personal asthma action plan, whether they smoke, what medication they are on and how many SABA inhalers they use.  They will also check their inhaler technique. 

“There will be a lot of rich data coming from this work which will be analysed in six months time. With the development of primary care networks this type of project will give us the evidence we need to show commissioners what community pharmacies can do to improve asthma care.”

The latest issue of Primary Care Respiratory Update contains an article about this initiative which was presented as a Best Practice abstract at the 2018 PCRS respiratory conference.