Our first action:
In the summer of 2021, our first action was to assess the Community Pharmacists’ perceptions of sleep-related advice requests and their role in sleep management.
Our abstract was published in the BMJ Open Respiratory Research journal and can be found here: https://bmjopenrespres.bmj.com/content/8/Suppl_1/A9.3 ↗
It was also presented at the British Sleep Society meeting in November 2021.
Combining ‘often’ and ‘very often’, the most common sleep-related problems encountered were insomnia (60%) and sleepiness/tiredness/fatigue (54%).
Half the CPs self-rated their confidence as 3 on the ‘confident – not confident’ scale. Fifty-seven percent reported that they received no undergraduate training on sleep problems. Proposed pharmacist involvement in sleep screening/signposting services or a pharmacy-based intervention/referral programme was supported by 78% and 70% respectively.
Fifty-eight percent of CPs were ‘very often’ or ‘often’ asked about symptoms of OSAS, with the majority (93%) asked ‘occasionally’.
CPs frequently encounter patients with symptoms of sleep disorders, but their confidence and training in dealing with these is lacking. This study highlights the need for specialist sleep training for pharmacists and the development of pharmacy-based services to support and improve patient outcomes.
We plan to dramatically improve on the quality and accessibility of sleep expertise accessible in the High Street community pharmacy (CP) through bespoke professional training and patient education materials.
Sleep issues span the generations and affect a large proportion of the population. Our plan will have a lasting impact upon the mental health and resilience of the entire community, as well as freeing up invaluable GP time.
Through accessible, earliest possible intervention, we can support people in need of sleep expertise and help them cope, adapt and prosper. This is especially pertinent with our communities “secretly” struggling from the seismic changes seen over the last two years.
Sleep expertise at the first patient / healthcare professional interaction
We’re a group of sleep and pharmacy professionals, intending to plug the disconnect between the patient and sleep expertise.
We’ve come together to advance Public Health through better sleep; at the first healthcare professional / patient interaction: when a patient (or their partner) consults a pharmacist.
Our great team
MEET THE BOARD
Gareth Evans, President
Adrian Zacher, CEO & Deputy Treasurer
Ed Grandi, Secretary & Treasurer
Joanna Kippax, Sleep Practitioner
Breege Leddy, Sleep Practitioner
Lizzie Hill, Sleep Education
Rod Tucker, Research
MEET THE HONORARY ADVISORS
Professor David Wright,
Professor Michael Gradisar,
Dr Caroline Copeland
Dr Sara McNeillis,
Gareth Evans BPharm(Hons) MRPharmS
Gareth is a community pharmacist with a special interest in weight management. His extensive work in community pharmacy weight management services has been recognised in a peer reviewed observational study, published in 2020 (MDPI Pharmacy – https://www.mdpi.com/2226-4787/8/1/22).
Spreading his work across community pharmacy, his pharmacy based weight management company Waistaway, and consultation work for Howard Foundation Research (Lipotrim pharmacy programme) Gareth is dedicated to improving the foundations of our public’s health. A chance conversation with sleep medicine pioneer Adrian Zacher (CEO) has now extended Gareth’s interest into sleep disorders, and is now routinely offering OSA screening and signposting appropriately, and a HSAT where required.
Adding sleep disorders to his range of pharmacy services made sense being commonly linked with obesity both incorrectly perceived more of a nuisance rather than conferring serious morbidity and increased mortality risk.
Adrian Zacher MBA
CEO and Deputy Treasurer
Adrian is a sleep medicine pioneer helping pharmacists resolve the sleep disorder epidemics.
He is a passionate sleep patient advocate.
Adrian’s background is in oro-maxillofacial surgery and then dental sleep medicine. Adrian cofounded the British Society of Dental Sleep Medicine, ran Zacher Sleep Appliances for over a decade and he later worked in the corporate CPAP world.
He runs Snorer.com The place for independent sleep business expertise and provides free online CPD and a turn-key service for pharmacists interested in helping snorers and their partners.
Secretary & Treasurer
Edward Grandi served as executive director of the American Sleep Apnea Association from 2004 to 2014. During his tenure, he was recognized as a nonprofessional subject matter expert on the diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
He co-authored several articles for peer-reviewed journals and a contributor to trade publications in the sleep field. He was an invited speaker nationally and internationally to lay and professional groups.
Ed is active on social media (LinkedIn) commenting on current developments in sleep medicine and population health in general.
Joanna is an experienced sleep practitioner and nurse prescriber.
After working in the NHS for 35 years, she now works independently with clients suffering from insomnia to deliver CBTI therapy either face to face in Herefordshire, or online.
Dr Lizzie Hill PhD
Dr Lizzie Hill RPSGT EST is a Course Tutor in Sleep Medicine at the University of Oxford. Lizzie’s background is in Healthcare Science, having worked as a Clinical Physiologist in adult and paediatric sleep medicine services in Edinburgh for over 20 years.
Lizzie is passionate about promoting healthy sleep via education, health promotion and public engagement, and her PhD focussed on diagnosis and treatment of OSA in adults with Down syndrome.
As well as her role within the Oxford Online Programme in Sleep Medicine, Lizzie is currently the Education Lead for the British Sleep Society, President of the European Society of Sleep Technologists and a member of the European Sleep Research Society’s examination committee.
Rod graduated with a degree in pharmacy and a PhD in analytical chemistry from Bradford University. He is a pharmacist with over 30 years’ experience in different areas of pharmacy practice and is currently an independent researcher and writer focusing on dermatology.
He developed his interest in dermatology while working in prison and established clinics for patients with skin problems and in 2003 won the RPS Pharmaceutical Care award for primary care for his dermatology clinics and in 2006 was a member of the dermatology Care Closer to Home group. He later trained as an independent pharmacist prescriber and in 2007 worked for an intermediate care dermatology in East Yorkshire. Rod was also a member of the group that developed the NICE psoriasis guidelines.
While working in community pharmacy, in 2011 Rod became a part-time visiting researcher with Robert Gordon University where his work has focused on exploring the role of pharmacists in supporting patients with skin problems and he has published 20 peer-reviewed papers on his work. For the last 5 years, Rod has been a visiting lecturer at Bradford University where he teaches dermatology to undergraduate pharmacy and clinical science students.
Rod is a member of the editorial board of the journal, Dermatology Nursing where, for the past 6 years he has written a regular “Ask the pharmacist” column, based on questions submitted by readers. He is project guardian for the Centre for Post-graduate Pharmacy Education (CPPE) dermatology module for specialist pharmacists and has written many educational articles on dermatology published in Pharmacy Magazine, the Pharmaceutical Journal and The Pharmacist. More recently, Rod has developed the content for an on-line dermatology educational website for primary care health professionals.
Breege qualified as a clinical physiologist in 2005 and gained the international RPSGT sleep qualification in 2008. Then completed a CPD in Behavioural Sleep Medicine in 2012 (University of Glasgow). Breege also worked as a senior sleep physiologist and was manager of Clinical Physiology, Mater Private Hospital, Dublin until Feb 2020.
In 2013 Breege founded the first ever dedicated insomnia clinic in Ireland. The clinic has locations in Dublin and Cavan, as well as an online service.
Breege is a member of the executive committee and former Treasurer of The Irish Sleep Society, a member of AASM (American Academy of Sleep Medicine) and the Society of Behavioural Sleep Medicine.
MEET THE HONORARY ADVISORS
Professor David Wright
David graduated in 1991 from the University of Bradford and was a practising community pharmacist until July 2016. In 1998, David completed his PhD on the value of providing clinical pharmacy services to care homes and became a full time lecturer in pharmacy practice. David moved to the University of East Anglia as one of the founding members of staff who set up the first new school of pharmacy in the UK for over 30 years in 2003.
David is a clinical trialist with expertise in the evaluation of complex interventions. His interest is in the improvement of pharmaceutical care through the process of medicines optimisation.
Professor Michael Gradisar
Michael is a Professor of Clinical Psychology and a clinical psychologist specialising in the treatment of sleep disorders across the lifespan.
He has published over 120 scientific papers on sleep, including clinical trials of novel sleep therapies for infants, pre-schoolers, school-aged children, teenagers and adults.
Dr Sara McNeillis
Sara McNeillis is a Consultant with interests in Sleep disorder management and Anaesthesia. She has been working at the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital sleep department since 2005; and as a Sleep Consultant since 2011. She became interested in Sleep disorders during her Anaesthesia training rotation. She could see that there are many overlaps in how the upper airway functions in natural sleep and during anaesthesia. She is interested in managing patients with general sleep disorders and sleep apnoea.
She graduated from Kings College London, after which, she went on to complete a few junior surgical posts before specialising in Anaesthesia in the North London Central Rotation training scheme, becoming a fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists in 2005 She completed her training in 2008 and gained specialist registration in Anaesthesia.
She was appointed as a Consultant in Anaesthesia with an interest in Paediatrics at the Royal Free Hospital and Buckinghamshire. With her increasing interest in Sleep disorders, she was then asked to join the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital Sleep unit as a Sleep Disorder specialist. Sara McNeillis has been involved in developing and expanding the sleep unit to provide a comprehensive sleep service at the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital.
Dr Caroline Copeland
Dr Caroline Copeland is a Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Medicine at King’s College London, and the Director of the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths.
Caroline’s broad research aim is to improve healthcare strategies for people who use drugs. Current projects range from the development of a wearable skin sensor to protect against opioid overdose, to the identification of drug-drug interactions between licensed medicines and illicit substances to prevent adverse effects. Caroline also examines how national and international drug policy influences drug-related death trends.
Caroline also sits on the Home Office’s Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs Novel Psychoactive Substances (ACMD NPS) Sub-Committee, and Welsh National Implementation Board for Drug Poisoning Prevention (NIBDPP).