Two types of respiratory clinics are run within the pharmacy. Firstly, the team perform spirometry tests to aid in the diagnosis of patients with new respiratory problems, and work closely with the specialist respiratory nurse to analyse spirometry results and initiate appropriate treatment.
As well as this, they conduct reviews for patients who have COPD and asthma to ensure that their conditions are being managed and that their medication is optimised. Patients are identified for a review according to whether they have used more than 12 ‘reliever’ inhalers in the previous 12 months. These patients’ prescriptions are subsequently highlighted, with the team making a point of discussing their treatment when they collect their medication. They explore the reasons for their overuse of SABAs and offer advice on inhaler technique, dosage etc. If appropriate, their inhalers / treatment can be altered by an independent pharmacist prescriber and the patient will be asked to return for a review to assess the impact of the change.
Although spirometry assessments and face-to-face clinics were halted due to COVID-19 restrictions, the pharmacy endeavoured to continue discussing patients’ respiratory medications at every opportunity that arose – including via telephone calls and Near Me consultations.
With the pandemic triggering issues with sourcing certain inhalers due to increased demand, as a prescribing pharmacist, Sam has been able to recommend alternative devices and treatment options where necessary and counsel patients accordingly.