Julie Brooks

Hospital Pharmacist

Bringing in the New Year, we introduce Sandwell and West Birmingham hospital pharmacist Julie Brooks, who is ringing the changes as the recipient of the 2013 ‘Galen Award’ of £24,000 to support her project on Pharmacist ‘intelligent’ referrals to a Psychiatric Liaison Team.

Julie (34) studied pharmacology (the science of the mechanism of drugs) before becoming a pharmacist and joining SWBH NHS Trust in 2002. For the last seven years she has been a teacher practitioner pharmacist, splitting her time between the trust and teaching at Aston University. Outside work her challenge for 2014 is to run the London marathon.

She explained: “Pharmacy is a real love for me. I enjoy the contact I have with our patients and the multidisciplinary team on the wards with the clinical input that this brings. By understanding how medications affect us, I can recommend the best ones for certain ailments. In a hospital environment that is even more important as inpatients are generally quite ill, so anticipating side effects and combinations of drugs is vital for the safety of our patients.”

The Galen award is a personal research grant that is awarded to support the development of ideas for patient and public benefit. Julie’s passion is to help patients who are prescribed with antipsychotic medications, to ensure they receive regular reviews to pick up any potential problems with side effects of the medication they are taking.

Julie has been working with the Rapid Assessment Interface and Discharge team for the last year looking at the use of antipsychotic drugs within the hospital. Known to be associated with an increased risk of falls, delirium, cerebrovascular events and death, it is crucial that patients prescribed them receive regular specialist review to prevent harm.

The new system identifies patients on the medication in real time so that Julie can review them and refer to the Rapid Assessment Interface and Discharge team if necessary. The award will enable Julie to continue her research and investigate the concept of pharmacists providing a formal referral service.