Investment in pharmacist training delivers significant benefits for people living with long term conditions

11th March 2019

For many thousands of people living with long term conditions, the quality of care they receive from healthcare professionals can have a significant impact on not only their daily lives, but also their long term prognosis.  Continuous training is therefore essential for healthcare professionals caring for these patients to ensure their clinical skills and knowledge are up to date.

Committed to this is Interface Clinical Services, an independent provider of clinical support services to the NHS whose team of clinical pharmacists carry out thousands of reviews of patients living with long term conditions each year.

To continue delivering the highest level of patient care, the company are investing in ongoing clinical training for their pharmacists.  They are doing this by teaming up with national training providers in long term conditions, Education for Health, who specialise in courses that focus on holistic assessment and care.

Clinical pharmacist Darren Curran was one of a team of pharmacists from Interface Clinical Services who attended an Education for Health RCGP accredited update on asthma and COPD.

Darren Curran

Following the training, Darren explained how it had already benefitted him and his patients: “One thing I really learnt from the respiratory training is the mind set of ‘right device for the right patient’. For example, I saw a 67 year old patient with persistent COPD symptoms. He was using a dry powder inhaler which was causing him to cough.

“He had had his medication stepped up the previous year due to persistent symptoms but was still using the same device. After investigating the cause of the cough, I found it was powder deposition in his mouth and throat due to poor inhaler technique. It was obvious that he had not been getting much, if any, medication into his lungs on a regular basis.

“Using the In-Check Dial to assess the patient’s inspiratory flow, I found that a soft mist inhaler would be more suited to this patient. The patient immediately felt very confident and positive about the change and as a consequence, his symptoms and exacerbation frequency should improve resulting in less respiratory related consultations for the practice. Overall, the respiratory training has significantly increased my knowledge and understanding and enabled me to see first-hand the difference that can be made to patient’s lives by optimising their inhaled therapy.

“As a result of ensuring patients are on the right level of therapy and by making sure they can use their inhalers correctly, practices have reported examples of patients noticing a significant improvement in symptoms within just a few weeks of the COPD review.”

Education for Health’s education lead on respiratory training, Beverly Bostock, comments: “We are a national charity providing training on long term conditions such as diabetes, COPD and heart failure.

“Utilising an academic team who are still practising clinicians and experts in their own particular fields, ensures that we can deliver the most relevant and up to date training incorporating national guidelines. Our vision is for a world where everyone living with a long term condition receives high quality care and can manage their condition to the best of their ability.

“We firmly believe that the way to achieve this is through a well informed and well educated workforce and are delighted that Interface Clinical Services have shown their commitment to this by commissioning training from us for their staff.”

Mike Drakard, CEO of Interface Clinical Services comments:  “The training that we have already received has been extremely beneficial for both our pharmacists and their patients.

“Because of this, we have already committed to further training in 2019 with Education for Health in the management of heart failure, asthma and COPD. The training will see our pharmacists develop their knowledge in these key therapy areas in order to increase their understanding of the latest clinical guidance and best practice.

“The training will focus on the pharmacological and non-pharmacological strategies that are important to improving the outcomes for patients alongside patient assessment, therapeutic management and patient education and counselling.”