Letters by leader6


									  For personal use only. Not to be reproduced without permission of the editor
                          (permissions@pharmj.org.uk)                                                                                            Letters
■ RETENTION FEE                         increasing fees in this way and then       Just a final thought, when all of                        pharmacist who on 30 December
                                        attempting to justify it.               us part-timers or semi-retired leave                        1933 was a life member shall pay
A high price to pay                                                             the Register, where are the locums                          no retention fee. Such a member
                                        Harvey Bergson                          going to be found to fill the 100                           would be at least 92 years old and I
From Mr H. Bergson, MRPharmS            Bournemouth,                            hours per week generated when                               just wonder how many such life
                                        Dorset                                  each supermarket currently                                  members there are. I know there
A spectacular 53 per cent rise in                                               without a contract is awarded one                           are members aged over 90 years. I
salary costs for the Society’s senior                                           under the new 100 hours rule?                               am one myself.What a nice gesture
personnel last year (C&D, 24 April)     Coincidental fee hike?                                                                              it would be if the Society decided
warrants further investigation.The                                              Peter Lee                                                   that non-practising pharmacists
13.4 per cent rise in the wage bill     From Mr P. J. Lee, MRPharmS             Maidenhead,                                                 with more than 65 years’
for other employees is partly                                                   Berkshire                                                   membership need not pay a
explained by a 5 per cent increase      The Royal Pharmaceutical                                                                            retention fee at all.
in staff numbers.And the 53 per         Society’s Council assures us that
cent in directors’ pay (including the   the profits from publishing             I shall cease to be a                                       E. J. Shellard
Secretary and Registrar) is mainly      activities, which have been             member                                                      Hounslow,
due to the addition of another four     subsidising membership fees for                                                                     Middlesex
directors.                              years, are not anticipated to           From Professor E. J. Shellard,
     At a time when members’ NHS        decline. Even so, it decides to         FRPharmS
remuneration has just been              increase fees to £256 which, in                                                                     Council should reflect
increased by a paltry 3.2 per cent,     mine and my wife’s case as “part-       After a membership of 67 years —                            on life at the sharp end
the wages bill for the Society’s        time” members, is a 121 per cent        for many years an active
directorates has increased by           increase.                               membership, both nationally and                             From Mr J. B. Nuttall, MRPharmS
£254,000.These are some of the              Since I sold my non-pharmacy        locally — I regret that at the end of
most difficult and challenging          business 10 years ago, my wife and I    the year, unless the Council                                Ivory towers or “Fawlty Towers”?
times in the profession’s history and   have lived off the investment           modifies its definition of a non-                           Take your pick.The problem with
we must have excellent people at        income from the sales proceeds          practising pharmacist, I shall cease                        the former is that occupants tends
the helm. But a near doubling of        supplemented by the occasional          to be a member.                                             to find it a bit difficult to see the
the number of directors coupled         locum work undertaken by us                 As a retired professor of                               little people on the ground.The
with the recent announcement of a       both.The latter covers the              pharmacognosy, still with a good                            latter speaks for itself.
huge increase in members’ fees          difference between expenditure          knowledge of herbal medicine, I                                  I read with dismay the Council’s
leads to the belief that the Society    and investment income while             am sometimes asked by relatives,                            decision to increase membership
is out of touch with reality. I         leaving our pension fund to grow        friends and neighbours for my                               rates and abolish the part-time
believe that the people at the helm     untouched.This has allowed us an        advice about herbal products. I                             rates.While most of us will sigh at
responsible for this need to be         excellent lifestyle, spending about     willingly give them my advice                               the prospect of an increase in the
questioned. I wonder whether an         five months of each year away on        without charge.                                             full-time rate it appears from the
organisation making a £1.5m loss        holiday.The advent of CPD has               But this will now be contrary to                        many letters received that there is
can justify this expenditure. It        provoked my wife and me to              the definition of a non-practising                          substantial risk that many part-time
should also be questioned how           consider ceasing to practise            pharmacist, since the third schedule                        pharmacists will simply stop
accountable these people are.           pharmacy altogether.This thought        defines a non-practising pharmacist                         practising. For a multiple pharmacy
     Some of the fattest cats in        is compounded by the new                as a member who does not give                               operator, this will doubtless place
industry have been called to            contract which, as far as we can see,   advice in relation to the science of                        even more pressure on an
account for their salary bills          will require us to take the same        medicines or health care.                                   overburdened workforce.
recently, particularly when they        courses in each primary care trust          It is not my intention to pay a                              Perhaps the Council needs to
have not been in line with              area in which we currently locum        retention fee of £256 to enable me                          reflect on life at the sharp end, the
performance.The entire board of         to acquire the accreditation to         to do this in the future, should I be                       decisions it makes and the real or
Eurotunnel were recently sent           practice as necessary to fulfil the     asked.                                                      perceived impact of these.
packing by shareholders for their       contracted “extras”. Our view is            While writing I will mention
unsatisfactory performance.             that we will cease to practise at the   one other point in the revised                              John Nuttall
Perhaps it is time that our members     end of the year. So that leaves the     byelaws which interests me.                                 General Manager
asked for a measure of people’s         question of whether we want to          Section II, paragraph 3 says that a                         United Co-op Pharmacy
performance at Lambeth.We need          remain members at all with a non-
to know if we are getting value for     practising member fee starting at
money.                                  £46 per annum rising to one-third
     The Journal compares pharmacy      of the practising fee in 2007.And                                 Letters for publication can be posted, faxed, or sent by e-mail to
with the medical and dental             what for? We will not need to                                     letters@pharmj.org.uk and should not normally be of more than 400
professions.The Government has          receive and read The Journal, an                                  words. The Journal reserves the right to abridge letters and to edit them
                                                                                  Letters to the editor

given both substantial increases in     essential part of CPD even if a                                   for clarity and style. Pharmacist correspondents should supply their
remuneration.They are both highly       mind numbingly boring read.As                                     membership numbers and a contact telephone number should always be
unified professions able to             non-practising members, if we                                     given. Women correspondents should specify a preferred title otherwise
negotiate on much more                  continue to help the “old dears” at                               “Ms” will be used.
favourable terms. Pharmacy, with        church, neighbours and relatives to                                    Letters are accepted for publication on the understanding that they
little apparent negotiating power,      understand their medicines, we                                    have not appeared anywhere, including electronic media, previously. If the
has been practically ignored.           could be struck off because we have                               issue is of such significance that the correspondent has simultaneously
Pharmacists’ earnings are at the        not done CPD. However, if as non-                                 submitted the letter elsewhere, it is the responsibility of the correspondent
bottom end of the professional          members we help them, it is OK. It                                to inform The Journal at the time.
scale and yet the Society chooses to    is hardly a difficult choice is it?                                    Letters that are critical of individuals, organisations or companies
ignore this fact.                           How many other members are                                    may be sent to the person or body concerned so that they are given a
     The Society should be sensitive    likely to leave the Society at the                                simultaneous right of reply. In these instances, the authors’ identities will
to pharmacy’s needs at the present      end of this year rather than                                      not be disclosed until publication, and publication will usually be delayed.
time. It might be better spending       undertake mandatory CPD and                                            Anonymity will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances. These
its energies looking at how it can      what will be the financial impact                                 circumstances will be at the discretion of the editor and the decision
assist in obtaining a better deal       on the Society? Coincidental fee                                  made in consultation with the correspondent.
financially for the profession before   hike? I think not.

www.pjonline.com                                                                                                             28 August 2004 The Pharmaceutical Journal (Vol 273) 285
Members should resist                        pharmacists are seen as subordinate         So now the august Society           ■ PERSONAL CONTROL
fee increase                                 to financial and other                  decides I am a “non-practising”
                                             considerations.This, in my view,        pharmacist, put down in status, told    Further clarification
From Mr D. A. Rosen, MRPharmS                has been a feature of Council           that the fee I have been paying is      needed regarding GSL
                                             policy during the 50 years I have       no longer economical.What a             medicines
It beggars belief to read in the PJ          been on the register.                   travesty this so-called professional
that the Royal Pharmaceutical                                                        Society has turned out to be.All        From Mr S. Vohra, MRPharmS
Society is seeking to raise                  Campbell McGovern                       my professional career I have
membership fees by 25 per cent. In           Glasgow                                 believed the Society not to have        The article “Statutory Committee
spite of the reasons for the increase                                                the interests of its members at         clarification on meaning of
given by the Society, it is in my                                                    heart. Now I have been proved           ‘personal control’” (PJ, 7 August,
opinion hardly warranted by the              Overmanned Lambeth                      right.                                  p203) does not mention how staff
service on offer to members at the           management                                  If this Society was indeed          are to manage general sale list
present time, let alone the future.                                                  honourable and august, it would         medicines, only giving advice to
To compare the fees with those               From Dr T. J. Benson, MRPharmS          venerate its retired members for        close the dispensary and not sell
paid by doctors and dentists is                                                      their loyalty and good practice and     any pharmacy medicines. I have
risible in view of the salaries              In mitigation of the proposed           grant them free membership for          been told by my local
received by the above compared               retention fee increase, does the        life.                                   pharmaceutical inspector that GSL
with those in pharmacy.                      Royal Pharmaceutical Society                The only decent thing the           medicines and items such as corn
    The Society encourages                   intend to lobby Mr Blair et al for an   Society has done for its members is     plasters should also not be sold
pharmacists to offer any number of           across-the-board 25 per cent            to provide The Pharmaceutical           since the customer is purchasing
services under the “professional             increase in pharmacist                  Journal and now I am to be denied       these from a pharmacy and
banner” without the consideration            remuneration? Is the Society going      that because there is no way I can      appropriate questions should be
of a professional fee, something that        to further the interests of             afford the fees proposed by the         asked about the purchase, eg, in the
no other professional would                  pharmacists in the above manner?        Council.                                case of customers buying items to
accept.                                          Does the Society really think           This is a sad day for the           treat foot conditions they may have
    This may not financially                 that to have a retention fee on a       profession of pharmacy.                 unknown diabetes.The Statutory
penalise some in the “profession” of         level comparable with that of other                                             Committee needs to further clarify
pharmacy but it is swingeing and             health professionals, then it must      Peter Millar                            this point and the accountability or
derisory for locums and managers,            portray us as important as they are?    Durham                                  responsibility of staff in selling such
who do not receive adequate                  Does it think us stupid?                                                        items whenever the pharmacist is
remuneration.                                    Utter tosh, I say, to all the                                               not present.
I would strongly recommend that              mooted excuses for this proposed        Why bother protesting?
this proposal is resisted by all             increase.This act is purely a means                                             Samir Vohra
members of the Society.                      of funding the overmanned               From Mr P. J. Sealey, MRPharmS          Clinical Governance Facilitator
                                             Lambeth management. Nothing                                                     Chorley & South Ribble Primary
David Rosen                                  else. I wonder what would happen        Why do pharmacists write to The            Care Trust
Northwood, Middlesex                         if all the members refused to pay       Journal to protest about retention
                                             this increase?                          fee rises? Have they not yet learnt
                                                 I think I have already paid my      that the Royal Pharmaceutical           Clarification has
A serious financial                          last retainer unless the Society can    Society pays little attention to its    muddied the waters
sanction                                     convince me of the real need for        members, except when it comes to
                                             these gross increases.                  such things as reprimanding them,       From Dr G. E. Applebe, FRPharmS
From Mr W. C. McGovern,                                                              striking them off or demanding
MRPharmS                                     T. J. Benson                            large quantities of their cash?         I applaud the courage of the
                                             London SW7                                  And as for your editorial (PJ, 14   chairman of the Statutory
It seems the Royal Pharmaceutical                                                    August, p208), headed                   Committee, Lord Fraser of
Society’s Council wishes to                                                          “Remarkable value for money”, I         Carmyllie, for his attempt to clarify
discourage experienced                       A sad day for the                       suggest a future career in fiction      the concept of personal control
pharmacists who, in retirement, are          profession                              writing might be appropriate.           reported in The Journal (PJ, 7
willing to undertake locum duties                                                                                            August, p203). I must first however
for their colleagues still in practice.      From Mr P. H. Millar, MRPharmS          Philip Sealey                           correct your editorial on the topic,
    I have been in this position now                                                 Warwick                                 which states that the concept had
for several years and accept locum           On reading about the proposed                                                   not been tested in the courts.The
duties only in cases of genuine              new membership fees I was none                                                  High Court did deal with the topic
difficulty. My contacts are aware of         too pleased to realise that as a        Spurious argument                       (Hygienic Stores Ltd v Coombes)
this and restrict their requests             retired hospital pharmacist I am no     From Mr E. Smith, MRPharmS              in 1937.Although this case was
accordingly. Even so I can assure            longer regarded as a functioning                                                based on the earlier legislation the
the Council that approaches are              member of the Royal                     Many would say that £256 for two        wording of the 1933 Act was
frequent and reflect a clear need for        Pharmaceutical Society and as such      days’ locum work is cheap at the        similar to that in the current
the service pharmacists like myself          I am to be cast onto the scrap heap     price (PJ, 14 August, p208).To say      Medicines Act.
can provide.                                 and pay an extortionate price for       that membership of the Royal                In the case Lord Fraser was
    It is not a problem to maintain          the privilege.                          Pharmaceutical Society is               considering the pharmacist had
continuing professional                          I have been proud to belong to      remarkable value for money              believed that it was in order for the
development in retirement. Indeed            an honourable profession and have       compared with that paid by              pharmacy to be open without a
the time now at my disposal allows           always striven to fly the flag of       doctors and dentists to their           pharmacist provided POM or P
me to be selective in terms of               pharmacy over 43 years on the           associations is a spurious argument,    medicines were not handed out or
subject matter and to conduct this           register. Often I upheld the values     bearing in mind the huge                sold. Indeed the pharmacist was
requirement in a rational and                of pharmacy, sometimes against          differences in remuneration and         following the guidelines in the
selective manner.The abolition of            belligerent opposition, but I believe   status between pharmacy and these       ‘Medicines, ethics and practice’
the part-time fee, however, is a             mostly won. Even now in                 professions.                            guide, subject to the caveat that the
serious financial sanction. It               retirement I have given talks on                                                absence of the pharmacist should
demonstrates once again that                 pharmacy and, socially, people have     E. Smith                                be a temporary one, eg, during
problems facing practising                   benefited from my experience.           Knutsford, Cheshire                     lunch break, going to the bank, etc.

286    The Pharmaceutical Journal (Vol 273) 28 August 2004                                                                                www.pjonline.com
This “policy” was that followed by       sale of POM or P medicines, a           obtaining. He was caught                  was shown jars of creams and
the inspectorate, at least during the    principle followed by the Society       because he used the drugs to kill         tablets, none of which had lists of
period that I was in the Society’s       over the years but always with          terminally ill patients for whom          active ingredients or dosage, etc.
law department (1964–91). It was         important caveats limiting that         the proposed audit of medication              I spoke to the Chinese doctor
also the principle followed by the       absence.The Society, and its            on death and the likely routine           via an interpreter. On asking about
Statutory Committee over those           Council, have also stated on            domiciliary nursing intervention          the ingredients in the remedies I
years. Lord Fraser appears to            numerous occasions that when a          offers some deterance to                  was shown jars of roots, leaves and
advocate the same principle except       pharmacy is open, the public            malpractice.                              bark, but no further information
that he puts no limit on the             expect a pharmacist to be present.          However, CDs are by no means          was available. I estimate that a
pharmacist’s absence: an hour, a         That is the added value that a          supplied exclusively to such              month’s supply of the suggested
week, a month, etc?                      pharmacist brings to the public,        patients. Had Shipman been                treatment would have been more
    I believe that Lord Fraser’s         otherwise why have a pharmacist at      prescribing CDs ostensibly for            than £100. I nodded and smiled
“clarification” tends to muddy the       all?                                    patients with chronic severe pain         and left without buying anything,
waters in that he introduces several          One eminent chairman of the        and diverted the drugs for illicit        but how many people buy without
terms which do not appear in the         Statutory Committee, while I was        sale or use on himself, it is unlikely    knowing anything about side
Medicines Act. His main thrust           his secretary, in dealing with a        his activities would have been            effects, toxicity etc?
introduces phrases such as “items        personal control issue said that he     detected under the present or
not requiring the agreement or           would not attempt to define the         proposed legislation.                     Orest Supyk
approval of a pharmacist” and            term and tread where angels feared                                                Hinckley, Leicestershire
“items that require the presence of      to go other than to say it all          Peter Lowe
a pharmacist”.The crunch words           depended on individual cases and        Community Pharmacy Development
in the Medicines Act are                 individual circumstances. I                Manager                                ■ COUNSELLING
“supervision” of POM and P               commend Lord Fraser in raising          Sunderland Teaching Primary Care
medicines and “personal control”         this thorny issue once again but           Trust                                  Mechanism for
of all medicines.The Act is silent       sadly I do not believe his decision                                               monitoring adequacy of
on the words “agreement”,                has resolved the matter.                                                          counselling required
“approval” and “presence”.                    Perhaps it is time to change the   ■ BNF-C
    Throughout his decision, Lord        law and look at a new Medicines
Fraser does not mention even once        Act. Surely this is overdue bearing     Publisher clarified                       From Mr D. C. Smith, MRPharmS
the sale of general sale list            in mind the changes in outlook
medicines.These are the medicines        and policies over the past 35 years.    From Dr A. J. Nunn, FRPharmS              I agree with T. U. Qazi (PJ, 14
which have caused problems with          After all we are seeking legislative                                              August, p220) that counselling
personal control over the years. It is   changes for pharmacy so why not         Your article on children’s                helps to reduce errors but my
impractical in a modern pharmacy         legislative changes for those           medicines (PJ, 21 August, p246) is        experience as a customer is that
to separate or lock away the             products which pharmacists              factually incorrect.The BNF-C             counselling is rarely carried
dispensary and all medicines.            supply?                                 will be jointly published by              out.
    The Act requires that, in order                                              RCPCH Publications, the Royal                 When collecting prescriptions
that a person shall be a person          Gordon Appelbe                          Pharmaceutical Society and the            over many years for myself or for
lawfully conducting a retail             London SE19                             BMJ Publishing Group. RCPCH               my children, all for one-off items, I
pharmacy business, the business, so                                              Publications is jointly owned by          can only remember being
far as it concerns the retail sale at    A Law and Ethics Bulletin               the Royal College of Paediatrics          counselled once. Most recently I
those premises of medicinal              clarifying personal control is          and Child Health and the                  was visiting my 84-year-old father
products (whether they are               published in this week’s issue          Neonatal and Paediatric                   who had been prescribed a new
medicinal products on a general          (p298). — EDITOR.                       Pharmacists’ Group.                       drug.The regular pharmacist had
sale list or not), or the supply at                                                 It is important to the credibility     been unable to supply it because
those premises of such products, is                                              of BNF-C as the national                  the prescription was unsigned and
under the personal control of a          ■ SHIPMAN INQUIRY                       paediatric formulary that it is seen      the drug was obviously not in my
pharmacist.                                                                      to be a joint venture between             father’s record.
    Lord Fraser uses the phrase:“I       A major loop-hole?                      paediatricians, paediatric                    I went to the surgery for a
understand that Parliament                                                       pharmacists and the publishers of         signature and then on to the
intended the premises can be             From Mr P. B. Lowe, MRPharmS            the standard BNF.                         pharmacy, where there was one
opened or remain open provided                                                                                             other customer being served by the
nothing requiring the presence of        Implementation of the                   Tony Nunn                                 assistant.The new drug was
the pharmacist is handed over in         recommendations of the Shipman          Clinical Director of Pharmacy             dispensed and handed to me in a
his absence.”The concept of the          Inquiry will undoubtedly improve        Royal Liverpool Children’s NHS            sealed bag with just a cursory
presence of the pharmacist is not in     the audit of Controlled Drug stock         Trust                                  check of my father’s name and no
the statute. It was my                   and transactions within the                                                       counselling at all.
understanding when the                   pharmacy and the administration                                                       I think this is a disservice to
Medicines Bill was going through         and disposal of CDs held in             ■ TCM                                     patients and reflects poorly on
the House of Commons in 1967             patients’ homes. Provision is also                                                pharmacy.There should be some
that medicines should only be            made for checking and recording         No list of ingredients or                 mechanism for monitoring the
available from pharmacies and            the credentials of GPs and other        dosage                                    adequacy of counselling since one
sold under the supervision of a          third parties collecting CDs on                                                   of the requirements under the
pharmacist. An exemption, the            behalf of patients. I am concerned,     From Mr O. Supyk, MRPharmS                Code of Ethics and Standards is
general sale list, was created for       however, that it appears no                                                       that:“Pharmacists must ensure that
products which could safely be           measures have been formulated to        With reference to David Williams’s        the patient receives sufficient
sold other than through a                plug a major loop-hole exploited        letter about traditional Chinese          information and advice to enable
pharmacy but in a pharmacy they          by Shipman in the control of            medicines (PJ, 14 August, p221), I        the safe and effective use of the
remain under the personal                abusable medicines.                     too have an interest in holistic          medicine.”
control of a pharmacist.                     Shipman would have had no           medicine.                                     Or maybe I will contact Which?
    Lord Fraser’s words seem to          trouble in satisfying a pharmacist of       As a psoriasis sufferer for 20-       ...
widen the door permitting                his bona fides and, by rotating         odd years I popped into a TCM
pharmacists to be absent from the        pharmacies, could have disguised        shop recently to see what they            David Smith
pharmacy provided there is no            the quantity of CDs he was              could suggest for my condition. I         Sheffield

www.pjonline.com                                                                                             28 August 2004 The Pharmaceutical Journal (Vol 273) 287
■ PUBLISHING BOARD                           “This is, of course, a matter for       will arise from implementation of         would be only too pleased to give
                                             Government decision, informed by        the new legislation now being             whatever help I can.
About time, too!                             the views of the Society’s Council.     prepared by the Government.
                                             However, I will try to clarify what     While the Society has put forward         Julian Barthram
From Mr A. D. Allen, FRPharmS                we think will happen.”                  proposals to inform the new               Chepstow, Gwent
                                                 I cannot believe this! What we      legislation based on the
It was interesting to read in the            think will happen? Does the             consultation, we cannot prejudge
Council report of the Council’s              Society not take an active role and     the decisions of Government and           ■ BULLYING
decision to establish a new                  keep itself informed about matters      Parliament.
publishing board for the Society’s           with such major consequences for            The formulation of proposals          Surprised statement on
publications business (PJ, 14                its membership? Does not the            for mandatory CPD did include             bullying was lacking
August, p236). One can only say,             (current) Charter require some          consideration of overseas members.
“About time, too!”.                          dedication to our welfare? And this     The CPD framework allows a                From Mrs H. V. Stewart, MRPharmS
    This was started in 1999 before I        is of major consequence both to         pharmacists’ CPD to reflect the
retired from the Council by myself           the overseas membership and the         development of their personal             I was pleased to read your report
and one other member of Council              Society in general.                     practice, not a theoretical GB-           (PJ, 14 August, p239) on the
who had the foresight to realise that            She went on to say:“An              based model of practice.This makes        Council’s decision to incorporate a
this extremely successful business           overseas member of the Society          it possible for the requirements          statement on harassment and
needed to be managed away from,              who wished to remain on the             relating to mandatory CPD to              bullying into the Council
but responsible to, the Council and          Society’s register and to practise      apply in the same way to overseas         Governance Handbook and the
managed, as any successful business          (whether in GB or elsewhere)            members as to members resident in         Society’s Employee Handbook, but
should be, by people who                     would need to be in the ‘practising’    Britain.We intend to provide              equally surprised to realise that such
understand and are competent in              part of the Society’s register and to   overseas members with the same            a statement was currently lacking.
commerce.                                    comply with CPD requirements.”          guidance on meeting these                     The statement adds:“The
    It looks like this is now ready              My point is that the Society has    requirements as members resident          Society will not tolerate any
for implementation but I would               not yet decided how it is going to      in Britain.                               harassment, bullying or
offer a word of caution.The                  enable overseas pharmacists to                                                    victimisation.” Has this not always
appointment of a part-time                   undertake CPD and thus remain                                                     been the case? The insidious and
chairman and non-executive                   on the British register.                ■ BREWERS’ YEAST                          heinous act of bullying must be
directors should be transparent and              If someone who was on the                                                     quashed, particularly so since the
not be the subject of cronyism.We            “non-practising” part of the            More research                             victims are usually unable to
need to get the right people and if          Society’s register were to work as a    warranted                                 defend themselves.
that costs a little more then so be it.      pharmacist or give pharmaceutical                                                     Let us hope that our profession
Design the contracts in such a way           advice, he or she would be              From Mr J. D. Barthram, MRPharmS          is at last taking effective measures to
that poor performance can be dealt           breaking the law and could also be                                                ensure that it has a powerful system
with in an efficient manner.                 subject to the Society’s fitness to     Further research into the efficacy        in operation, able to identify, expose
    I look forward to seeing                 practise committees.                    of brewers’ yeast is warranted. I         and deal with bullying — both
transparency in the way                          Why does the Society, or            started a clinical trial in 1997 with     external and within.
appointments are made and wish               indeed the British Government,          the help of D. Hill and I. K. Hosein          Let us also hope that all
the publications business further            presume it has worldwide powers?        of the department of microbiology,        previous and present occurrences
success in the future.                       And what exactly is the definition      University Hospital of Wales,             of harassment and bullying have
                                             of “giving pharmaceutical advice”       Cardiff. Unfortunately, I was             been detected and dealt with in a
A. D. Allen                                  How the Council could support           unable to finish it because of a          fair, correct, open, and timeous
Chigwell, Essex                              this I really do not know.              change in employment. I published         manner.
                                                 I am extremely disappointed,        the findings in The Pharmaceutical
                                             both with the decisions taken and       Journal (PJ, 6 September 1997,                .
                                                                                                                               H.V Stewart
■ OVERSEAS MEMBERSHIP                        the lack of communication to the        p371) and I was delighted that they       Lochearnhead, Perthshire
                                             membership about the                    are quoted again after seven years
Most of overseas                             consequences of proceeding with         (PJ, 14 August, p230).
membership could be                          such. I think the Society will lose          I would like to add some details             Off the record
lost                                         most, if not all, of its overseas       from the original research which                  Our new occasional series is
                                             membership.                             may answer some of the authors’                   open to any writer. Readers
From Mr I. C. Nock, MRPharmS                                                         questions. I agree that the dried                 are invited to send either 400-
                                             Ian C. Nock                             yeast in brewers’ yeast tablets is                or 600-word items about
I am a pharmacist who has been               Hong Kong                               non-viable.This was tested by the                 some anecdotal aspect of
living, working and practising                                                       microbiology department.                          pharmacy practice that they
abroad for decades.The new                   PHILIP GREEN, deputy secretary          However, whole yeast cells were                   think is worth sharing. Items
Charter, continuing professional             and registrar, and director of          found in the tablets under electron
                                                                                                                                       are published anonymously
development and separate registers           education and registration, Royal       microscopy and fermentation
have all been skirted around in The          Pharmaceutical Society, replies:The     activity was still present. Hence it is
                                                                                                                                       but contributors must supply
Journal but no specific details have         Society has taken an active role in     still possible that if brewers’ yeast             their full name and address.
yet been published on how these              preparing for the implementation        has a beneficial effect in the                    Items should be sent to
will affect members working                  of mandatory CPD.The proposed           treatment of Clostridium difficile                graeme.smith@pharmj.org.uk
overseas. Exactly how will CPD               requirements for CPD included           associated diarrhoea it is not just as            for consideration
and Section 60 affect members,               the principle that pharmacists who      a vitamin B supplement.
such as myself, who have dual or             are practising should undertake              In our research project, adding              Broad Spectrum
multiple registrations with other            CPD.The requirements were the           brewers’ yeast tablets to                         The Broad Spectrum feature is
jurisdictions? Well, as far as CPD           subject of a consultation with the      vancomycin or metronidazole                       open to any reader.
goes, even the Society does not              membership in March 2003.The            therapy reduced the relapse rate                  Contributions of around 1,100
know.                                        results were extremely positive and     from 56 per cent to 17 per cent.                  words commenting on topical
    A recent e-mail reply from               pharmacists’ views were reflected       This should serve as a challenge to               issues should be sent to
Christine Gray, project manager,             in the final proposals to the           pharmacists working in an                         graeme.smith@pharmj.org.uk
modernisation steering group, Royal          Government. However, the                environment where Clostridium                     for consideration
Pharmaceutical Society, explained:           mechanisms for mandatory CPD            difficile infection is common and I

288    The Pharmaceutical Journal (Vol 273) 28 August 2004                                                                                  www.pjonline.com

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