Working with other agencies

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Chapter: Hospital pharmacy : Community health services

Historically, in parallel with health authorities, local authorities have been responsible for commissioning the social care needed by their residents, particularly children and vulnerable groups such as older people.


Working with other agencies

 

Social services

 

Historically, in parallel with health authorities, local authorities have been responsible for commissioning the social care needed by their residents, particularly children and vulnerable groups such as older people. These needs include access to care homes, domiciliary care, ‘meals on wheels’, fostering services, adoption, social care assessments and occupational therapy. Successive governments have encouraged local authorities to outsource these services from the private or voluntary sector and this has led to an expansion of private home care agencies.

 

Nurses are employed by care homes that provide nursing care. In most other social care environments social care workers are involved with medi-cation in the course of their duties. In residential care homes, social care workers administer medication to their service users unable to manage their own medicines. Domiciliary home care workers support service users living in their own homes with their medicines in line with their employer’s policy. Both groups need to access training, professional advice and medicines infor-mation from pharmacists. While community pharmacists will provide sup-port to individual service users and carers, CHS pharmacists often work with social care organisations to support safe practices with medication, including local policies, training programmes and advice on documentation.

 

Local education authorities

 

Education authorities should work with health professionals such as SN, spe-cialist SN, community paediatricians and CHS pharmacists to ensure that there are proper policies for the control and use of medicines both within mainstream and special schools and in early-years settings. Procedures need to be in place so that children can access their medicines and medicines are handled and stored responsibly. All staff involved with medicines need appropriate in-service train-ing so that they, other staff and parents are clear about their roles.

 

Voluntary agencies

 

Many of the voluntary agencies such as Age UK and the Parkinson’s Disease Society have concerns around the proper use of medicines by their service users. They may access help from their local CHS pharmacist to give talks to individual self-help groups such as stroke clubs or to give advice to agencies in formulating information leaflets on the use of medicines.

 

The Primary and Community Care Pharmacy Network (PCCPN)

 

PCCPN is a UK-wide special-interest group established to provide peer sup-port, networking and education opportunities to those working in this field. There is an uneven spread of CHS posts across the UK along with a great variation in the size and organisation of CHS pharmacy services. Some posts are part-time or sometimes linked to other duties within hospital pharmacy. There is also a range of seniority, with chief pharmacists of large CHS pro-viders at band 8c or 8d. Most CHS posts are band 8a or 8b, reflecting the autonomy and scope of these posts and the competencies needed. There are also band 7 posts for pharmacists with less experience of CHS. CHS pharmacy technician posts tend to be graded at band 5 or 6. A competency framework has been developed for pharmacy staff working in CHS; this is under review at the time of writing.

 

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