NHS priorities

Whether it’s to prepare for the next Pharmacy Quality Scheme deadline, or to increase your confidence in helping people with a learning disability, this section provides topic-specific pages that link to current NHS priorities. This section will support you in keeping your knowledge and skills up to date in order to provide high-quality pharmacy services and be service-ready.

Clinical pharmacy

Our clinical portfolio is expanding on a frequent basis, helping you to advance your knowledge and skills and deliver medicines optimisation in practice for all sectors of pharmacy. From two new focal points a year to our small group learning for hospital pharmacists – Optimise – this section focuses on clinical pharmacy, diseases and therapeutics.

Public health

The public health agenda is embedded in pharmacy, yet topics such as emergency contraception or stop smoking support are as prevalent as ever. As well as our public health workshops, use this section to access a wide range of resources to assure and maintain your competence, all underpinned by the Declaration of Competence system.




Chronic musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the single biggest cause of the rising burden of disability in England. These long term conditions have a huge negative impact on individuals including on employment, well-being, day to day function, mobility and pain.

There are about 200 different musculoskeletal conditions, which fall into five main groups

Inflammatory arthritis

Degenerative arthritis including osteoarthritis

Soft tissue pain

Back pain

And connective tissue diseases or CTD

There are approximately 350,000 people aged 16 years or older with rheumatoid arthritis in England.

An Arthritis Research UK report estimates that the number of people with osteoarthritis in England is around 7.3 million.

A common misconception is that little can be done for people with chronic musculoskeletal conditions, but this is not true. As a pharmacist you can support people with these conditions to live well and deal with their condition. Use the resources on this page to learn how to prevent disability by supporting your patients to aim for a healthy weight, increase physical activity and use medicines effectively.


The aim of this programme is to develop your skills and confidence to support people living with chronic pain. You will consider the safe and effective use of medicines, focusing on opioids, and how to use a person-centred approach to empower people to live well with pain.

6h:45m (for events this includes pre and post event learning)

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of all aspects of this learning programme you should be able to:
  • explain the basic principles of analgesic stewardship
  • demonstrate approaches to overcome barriers and potential challenges to safe and effective use of opioids you may encounter in practice
  • apply a shared decision-making approach to discussions involving pain, with a focus on safe and effective use of opioids
  • discuss your role in supporting people with opioid reduction and deprescribing
  • support people to self-manage their pain while demonstrating a person-centred approach.
external resource

Opioids are prescribed very widely, mainly for managing pain. This module identifies the most important hazards of opioids and informs on actions that health professionals can take in order to anticipate, minimise and manage the risks.

external resource

NICE Clinical guideline Rheumatoid arthritis in adults: management


This e-assessment is linked with the CPPE Deprescribing opioids in people with chronic pain focal point programme and assesses you on the learning outcomes in that programme.

Why should I do this assessment?

This e-assessment completes the learning you began with the CPPE Deprescribing opioids in people with chronic pain focal point programme. Access and successful completion will contribute to your own personal development plan, be recorded in your My CPPE record, and will enable you to complete a CPD entry on the learning. It may also provide evidence for achieving competencies in the RPS Foundation or Advanced Pharmacy Frameworks. If you are working towards completing a Declaration of Competence for a pharmacy service, successful completion of this assessment will provide evidence of your learning.
external resource

This short questionnaire that allows people with musculoskeletal conditions (such as arthritis or back pain) to report their symptoms and quality of life in a standardised way.

external resource

The Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA) is the umbrella body for the arthritis and musculoskeletal community in the UK, and our mission is to transform the quality of life of people with musculoskeletal conditions

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