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Promoting asthma care in the pharmacy

20th September 2017

Pharmacies play a key role in helping children and young people manage their asthma, writes Donal Markey

Pharmacies can play an important role in the care of children and young people with asthma. When children and young people pick up prescriptions it’s always a good opportunity for me to ask about whether the child, young person or parent understands how to use their medication, to offer medicine use reviews or if appropriate offer the new medicine service. I use the following approach;

  • I ask about inhaler technique
  • I ask if they have an asthma action plan, if not I suggest they see their GP
  • I ask about and offer flu vaccination to children and young people and their families
  • I ask about smoking and refer or offer stop smoking services

My #AskAboutAsthma pledge in support of the Healthy London Partnership campaign is to perform salbutamol inhaler surveillance assessments and promote flu vaccinations to asthmatic patients; in line with NHS services commissioned from pharmacies in England.

I only practice on weekends but I am pleased to say last Saturday I dispensed one prescription for salbutamol and two patients called to collect repeat prescriptions that included salbutamol as part of their asthma management.

I was able to perform an inhaler surveillance using the pharmacy records to check the number of salbutamol inhalers they had dispensed in the last six months. In one case this was eight and so after a brief discussion with the patient I established they had been using their inhaler more than usual during the summer. We agreed I would update the GP and they would make an appointment to have an asthma review. They couldn’t remember the last time this had happened.

In each case I mentioned the importance of having a flu vaccination this winter which will be free through the NHS and available at the pharmacy. One patient has already booked a slot in the pharmacy next Saturday.

Please click here for more information about flu vaccinations.

About the author

Donal Markey is a Pharmacist and former HLP Pharmacy Adviser – @donalmarkey

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