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Doncaster pharmacies hail success of inhaler technique scheme

Practice Pharmacies have delivered up to 28 interventions in the first two months of the scheme

Community pharmacies across Doncaster have helped up to 20 asthma patients each to better use their inhalers in a pilot scheme commissioned by the local CCG.  

As part of the pilot, which launched across every pharmacy in Doncaster in January, pharmacists are offering drop-in sessions for patients to learn how to use their inhaler and how the correct technique can increase the amount of drug entering the lungs.

Although Doncaster CCG did not have figures for the total number of interventions, Weldricks Pharmacy chain said it had been "very active" in the scheme. Most of Weldricks' 25 branches that took part had already achieved up to 20 interventions each and one had delivered 28, Weldricks superintendent Richard Wells told C+D on Thursday (March 8).  

Pharmacists in Doncaster are offering drop-in sessions for patients to learn how to use their inhaler and hear how a better technique can affect drug delivery

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Although a full evaluation of the service will not be available until the pilot finishes at the end of March, initial feedback from patients had shown the service was "very useful", Mr Wells said.

 "The advantage with the inhaler technique service is that there is a physical thing to do. People quite like that. If something is being demonstrated, that's quite a catch," he told C+D.

The pilot had been "fantastic" and Mr Wells said he hoped it would lead to a nationally commissioned service.

The service was funded from Doncaster CCG's winter budget and offered to patients starting to use a new inhaler as well as existing inhaler users. One patient said the inhaler training was a "potential life saver" within a week of seeing the benefits, the CCG told C+D.

CCG chair Nick Tupper said he hoped the initiative would create cost savings for the NHS by reducing A&E admissions and increasing the efficiency of inhalers, which can cost more than £60 each.

Many people were not getting the "maximum benefit" from their inhaler because they were not breathing in at the "appropriate time and pace", Mr Tupper said. "We hope that by being shown how to improve their technique, people will see an improvement in their health." he added.

The pilot scheme was prompted by research in South Yorkshire that found that 95 per cent of patients could not use their inhaler properly, the CCG said. Payment to pharmacies for participating in the scheme will be determined by the number of people accessing the service, it added.

How could you help your patients improve their inhaler technique?

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