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Friday 24 May 2019
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BLOG: A day in the life of a mental health pharmacist

I have recently started a new post with Wye Valley NHS Trust in Herefordshire.

 

Herefordshire is a beautiful rural county in the west of England nestling in the shadow of the Black Mountains on the Welsh border.

 

I am contracted to provide a service to the Mental Health Trust whilst being based in the Acute Hospital Pharmacy. Although this is a new post for Herefordshire, I have been doing mental health pharmacy since the late 1990s.

 

Today began with a ward round – I am part of the team, which includes a psychiatrist, junior doctor, nurse and occupational therapist.

 

I was asked about a lady who was in a manic episode and had a side effect from the antipsychotic she was on. The lady did not have capacity at that time, so we discussed the side effect profiles of the medication in the ward round and decided on an alternative.

 

As I was about to leave, a concerned patient stopped me wanting to know about their medication. They were really worried about the effects it was having and had decided that they wanted to stop it. I printed out a leaflet and we talked through the issues.

 

Hopefully that will help calm some of the fears and avoid a crisis.

 

Back in the Pharmacy I am asked by a pharmacist covering the medical ward if the medication that had been prescribed for an older lady with delirium was appropriate. We looked at the doses and they decided to ask the prescriber to reduce the dose.

 

My email inbox has a few queries in it that will keep me busy for the rest of the day. So, I will use reference books and my experience to find practical and pragmatic answers to the questions.

 

Importantly, each patient is treated as an individual and decisions about their medication are always patient-centred.

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