NHS priorities

Whether it’s to prepare for the next Quality Payments 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.

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distance learning

Polypharmacy - focal point


  • Released: 03/2016
  • Reviewed: 01/2019
  • Study time: 5h:0m
  • Standard price: £15.00
  • NHS HEE funded price: £0.00

This programme will help pharmacy teams to develop the confidence, competence and communication skills to work in partnership with patients and other healthcare professionals to enable patients to get the most from their multiple medicines.

Learning objectives

On completion of all aspects of this learning programme you should be able to:

  • explain the terminology associated with polypharmacy and what it means for patients and the healthcare team
  • identify the causes and consequences of polypharmacy, in particular in relation to older people and the wider NHS
  • describe how polypharmacy fits with the medicines optimisation agenda
  • identify how you could use decision-making tools and strategies to support your practice
  • use effective communication and consultation skills to undertake patient-centred discussions
  • develop your own approach, relevant to your area of practice, to support patients on multiple medicines
  • identify the common medicines that cause problematic polypharmacy and patient hospital admissions
  • prioritise, in conjunction with the patient, what interventions to make by taking a holistic approach to optimising patient care.

How to use this programme

On your computer: You can open this programme as a PDF in your web browser. We recommend that you download and save it to your computer and view it through Adobe Reader.

On your tablet device: If you would like to view this programme on your tablet device you can download the PDF and open it within a free PDF reader app. We have tested this type of programme in a few apps and found that it works in the Adobe Reader app on Android and Apple devices and the PDF Reader app on Apple devices.

Learning intended for

  • Pharmacists
  • Pharmacy technicians
  • Pre-registration trainees
  • CPPE registrants