For the June meeting we had an highly entertaining and informative talk by Sian Williams, a Pharmacist based in Cirencester.
Sian explained the training requirements to become a pharmacist , summed up as five years of very hard work!! The training covers three main areas: 1. How medicines work, 2, How people work, 3 How the healthcare system works. Whilst they do not sound too daunting, for how medicines work covers therapeutics (how medicines are used) pharmacology (the actions and uses of medicines and the effects that medicines have on the human body) pharmaceutical technology, including manufacturing and engineering science) formulation (how drugs and other materials are used together in dosage forms).
Sian then explained all the things a pharmacist does or can do, and this is more than just make up our prescriptions. It covers areas such as counsel patients on their proper use, clarify with GPs and other prescribers that dosages are correct, and check that new treatments are compatible with other medicines the patient may be taking. They also can help people to improve their health and well-being. They advise on a variety of health-related issues such as stopping smoking, healthy eating and drinking and sexual health.
Also with further training they can be authorised to issue prescriptions for certain drugs and medicines.
So next time you go to collect your insulin or metformin etc, just remember that the pharmacist is more than a pill counter and can offer help and advice on wide range of health related matters, and it may be quicker and easier than making an appointment to see the doctor – just ask.