In January, Lloydspharmacy launched its programme to administer Prolia (denosumab), an injection used to treat patients with osteoporosis, at three of its Birmingham branches, in partnership with the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and drug manufacturer Amgen.
In March, Nav Kaur, pharmacy manager at Lloydspharmacy’s Frankley branch, successfully administered the first injection as part of the service, which aims to “[reduce] visits to hospital for patients, as well as being conveniently located in the community”.
Here, Ms Kaur reveals the process she went through to administer the injection, from the training she undertook to the patient’s reaction and feedback:
I’ve always been interested in clinical services. I did a post-graduate clinical diploma, so obviously that equipped me and gave me the confidence to enhance my role in community pharmacy. When the opportunity came, I was asked by my manager and of course I said 'yes' straight away.
I feel very excited to be part of something so innovative and it just makes it extra special because I’m the first one.
How does the service work?
In terms of the process, it’s once every six months. The first few injections are given in the hospital setting by a hospital clinician, and the follow-up injections will be given in the community. The patient I saw, for example, had already had two injections in the hospital and she had a third injection with me.
A prescription is transferred to the clinical [contact] centre at head office. They do all the admin work, so that is taken care of for us. We see the prescription, we do all our clinical checks, ensuring that the patients have had their recent tests. We need to check that their calcium levels have been checked recently and that they’ve been taking their vitamin D supplements.
Once we’ve done all the checks and the patient is happy, we are good to go with the injection.
What did the training involve?
We were given full training on administering the [subcutaneous] injection, because I was just used to giving the flu injection in the past. That’s the only injection I’ve ever given before and that’s an intramuscular injection, so the technique is different.
We also had someone from Amgen tell us all about the drug; the side effects and mechanism of action.
Then, there was training by a clinician from the hospital, who sees the patient directly. Then our team from head office, go through the process and the admin work – so it’s quite thorough training.
How did the patient react?
The patient I saw was very happy, because it was so convenient for her. The pharmacy was so close to her house. There’s no issue with parking, she didn’t have to wait, so she was delighted.
How do you feel about the service?
I’m just excited that it’s a new initiative and I was part of it. Working together with the wider healthcare team and having that contact with the hospital makes me feel more integrated.
Pharmacists can feel quite isolated sometimes, [so] this 'working together' approach can only enhance patient care. I think that’s why I feel so happy and excited, it’s something different that I’ve not done before.