Press release: UKCPA and PRUK award their 2016 grant

UKCPA and PRUK are delighted to grant the 2016 UKCPA-PRUK Research Awards to Andrew Sturrock, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice and Clinical Therapeutics at the University of Sunderland; and to Daniel Greenwood, a PhD student in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Manchester.

UKCPA (the UK Clinical Pharmacy Association) and PRUK (Pharmacy Research UK) are working together to support pharmacy practitioners to take forward their research within clinical pharmacy. This year two projects have been awarded funding:

  1. The multidisciplinary approach to the prevention of bisphosphonate related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ). A qualitative study into the attitudes and perceptions of patients.
  2. Enhanced clinical pharmacy practice in the emergency department: what is it and what does it mean for patient care?

Ann Page, Chair of UKCPA, said, “UKCPA are delighted to be working with PRUK to fund these important projects. The high morbidity level of osteonecrosis means that it is important to prevent this condition and this project should result in better patient care for those taking bisphosphonate.  The role of the Pharmacist in A&E is a new and exciting role and we look forward to seeing the evidence around the impact they can make in emergency care.”

Prevention of Osteonecrosis

Bisphosphonates are used to treat a number of conditions that effect bones, such as osteoporosis and certain cancers. However, they can cause the rare but unpleasant and painful condition osteonecrosis.  This affects the patient’s jaw bones and is very difficult to treat, so healthcare professionals try to prevent it occurring.  Current evidence suggests knowledge of this condition among healthcare professionals is poor and that patients are unaware of this potential side effect and how to mitigate against it.  This study is designed to look at the attitudes of patients towards this risk, the ways in which this risk can be minimised and how healthcare professionals can work together to prevent it from occurring.  The results of this project should help with the development of services that can reduce the risk of patients experiencing osteonecrosis of the jaw and to gain an understanding of the role of each healthcare professional in the management of this condition.

Andrew Sturrock said, “We are delighted to have received the UKCPA-PRUK award. Osteonecrosis of the jaw is a rare adverse effect of bisphosphonate therapy, however it can cause significant morbidity for patients and it is largely preventable with appropriate management and inter-professional collaboration. By speaking to patients we hope to develop an understanding of the impact of this condition on their lives and how patients prescribed bisphosphonates perceive this risk.  This will allow us to gain an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the various healthcare professionals, as perceived by patients and provide an evidence base for the development of patient centred collaborative care in this patient group.”

Pharmacy practice in A&E

Many UK emergency departments are struggling to meet demand. Due to staff shortages, the NHS has started to use pharmacists with enhanced clinical skills to care for emergency department patients. In addition to being medicines experts, this new type of pharmacist can diagnose some types of patient and write prescriptions.

This research will collect information about what these pharmacists do when they are working in the emergency department. This will include activities that pharmacists have always done, such as helping doctors to choose the best medicines for patients, as well as new responsibilities, such as examining patients. We will also investigate how these pharmacists affect patient care.

The results of this research will be presented and distributed to many different healthcare professionals, hospitals, universities, and government organisations including Health Education England who are responsible for healthcare professional training. By informing these groups of this research, we hope that they will learn and understand more about what pharmacists with enhanced clinical skills training can do, and consequently help more emergency departments to hire pharmacists.

For more information please contact PRUK at practice.research@rpharms.com


Notes to Editors

  1. PRUK is the principle funder of pharmacy research in the UK. Founded as a result of a merger in 2012 of two previous research funding charities, PRUK has a broad programme of research in place. PRUK funds both research projects and individual bursaries to improve skills across the pharmacy sector. Registered charity number 1148335.
  2. UKCPA is a member association for clinical pharmacy practitioners. UKCPA encourage, support and promote advanced practice in pharmacy. The Association was established in 1981 with the aim of bringing together like-minded pharmacists from different practice areas to share knowledge, research and experiences.  This remains our core aim today. We provide networking and educational opportunities for our 2300+ members to discuss and resolve current clinical issues and share best practice.
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