Palliative care: tell us what you think

BNF Publications are always looking for ways to improve. Currently, we are particularly keen to understand what users think about the palliative care content within our publications.

With that in mind, below is a link to a short survey (approximately 10 minutes) that aims to help us understand how BNF Publications can further support palliative care practice. We thank you in advance for your participation.

BNF Palliative Care Survey

Appointments to the BNF for Children’s Paediatric Formulary Committee

BNF Publications are pleased to announce the appointments of a Chair and Deputy Chair of the BNF for Children’s Paediatric Formulary Committee (PFC).

Dr David Tuthill has been appointed as the Chair of the BNF for Children’s PFC. David is a consultant general paediatrician at the Children’s Hospital for Wales and Llandough Hospital. His main clinical focus is children with allergic and general paediatric problems. He has been involved in work around medication and patient safety and also has expertise in quality improvement. He has been a member of the PFC since 2011. David is also a member of the Medicines Committee at the Royal College of Paedatrics and Child Health (RCPCH). He has been actively involved in development of the Medicines for Children website, a joint initiative between RCPCH, the Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group (NPPG) and Wellchild.

Neil Caldwell has been appointed as the Deputy Chair of the BNF for Children’s PFC. Neil is a consultant pharmacist for children’s services at Wirral University Teaching Hospital and honorary lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University and has been a member of the PFC since 2011. Neil is a lead reviewer of Medicines for Children leaflets and, since 2009, he has been member of the NPPG committee; he was also part of the NICE Guideline Development Group for Antibiotics for Early Onset Neonatal Infection from 2010­–2012. Neil was awarded a Faculty Fellow of Royal Pharmaceutical Society in 2014.

New BNF & BNFC App launches for UK NHS Professionals

A new BNF & BNFC App is available to download from App Store and Google Play.  Containing the latest content from both the BNF and BNF for Children (BNFC), the app provides access to practical, evidence-based medicines information whenever – and wherever – it is needed.

The App is aimed at prescribers, pharmacists, and other health and social care professionals working within the NHS in the UK who need accurate, up-to-date information about the use of medicines. It features the same content structure as the BNF print and web editions and has been purpose-built for iOS and Android platforms.

The App’s predictive searching is fast and intuitive, the BNF drug monographs make dosage and prescribing information immediately accessible, and the arrangement of information into sections on Drugs, Treatment summaries, Interactions, Medical devices, Borderline substances and Wound care makes it easy to navigate. The App includes a robust interactions checker that makes identifying potentially serious issues between combinations of drugs quick and simple.

The App lets users search and retrieve BNF content without a connection to the internet. Its clinical content is updated every month, so users can be sure they are basing their decisions on the latest information available.

BNF Director, Karen Baxter comments:

“The new BNF & BNFC App has been designed to be responsive, interactive and very easy to access, saving clinicians valuable time. We have had great initial feedback from our test group on its intuitive design and ease of use.  This new digital format adds to the range of ways health professionals can access BNF content and we are delighted to be able to share it with you.”

Commercial users of the BNF who wish to use the App should contact opsteam@rpharms.com to discuss licencing arrangements.

Prices in the BNF

Since launching the new BNF structure, we have had a number of queries about how the prices in current BNF Publications align with the prices in BNF legacy products.

Print

For branded preparations, prices are derived from the NHS Dictionary of Medicines and Devices (DM+D). This policy has not changed in the move to the new BNF structure.

Due to space constraints in print publications, we are not able to list all available generic preparations cited in the NHS Dictionary of Medicines and Devices (DM+D). Instead, we have editorial processes that allow us to create a preparation entry that is representative of all generic preparations, including a representative price. This price is based on the NHS indicative price for all related generics in DM+D. This policy has not changed in the move from the legacy BNF structure.

Digital

For branded preparations, the situation is the same described under Print, above.

In digital versions of the new BNF Publications there are no space constraints and so for generic preparations, prices for all available preparations are included. This has changed in the move to the new BNF structure – in the past, only a representative generic preparation was listed, as described under Print, above.

Drug tariff

BNF Publications based on the new structure also list the Drug Tariff price, where available.  This is an enhancement added to the new structure based on user feedback and is not included in BNF legacy products.

Updating

The new BNF Publications have been built to allow a more seamless updating of the price information and the price can more rapidly be updated than was possible with the legacy system, which required a laborious manual process.

Legacy versions are due for retirement and therefore there is minimal support for non-clinical content i.e. product information such as prices. We advise that the new BNF Publications should be used in preference to the legacy BNF Publications, but this is particularly true when considering price, where the content will be more up-to-date.

Hierarchy

The BNF chapter numbering structure (sometimes referred to as the hierarchy) was changed in BNF70 in order to facilitate the development of digital products and the print restructuring of content.

We are aware that NHS organisations, especially hospitals, utilise the BNF’s chapter structure and have further developed it for a range of important uses which could be impacted by these changes, including, in particular, collecting and reporting data on medicines and other prescribable products. As well as local systems, this also affects NHS Business Services Authority’s prescriptions information systems and reports, the dm+d supplementary release file, and the publications and data releases by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

A steering group with representation from the BNF Publisher, DH, HSCIC, NHSBSA, NICE, Devolved Administrations, All England Chief Pharmacists Group and the Pharmaceutical Advisors Group has been established meets quarterly. The group’s focus is on the development of an NHS owned information standard, which will eventually replace the legacy BNF chapter structure. Use of the standard will be mandated throughout the NHS to ensure consistency across all systems, although please note that this is a long term objective. The group will also focus on developing a strategy which will support the requirements of users throughout the NHS to make a smooth transition with minimal disruption. We will be consulting widely with users to help with this work.

We would like to reassure you that the BNF Publisher will continue to support the chapter structure featured in previous editions of the BNF through ‘BNF Legacy’, which is available on the www.medicinescomplete.com platform whilst solutions are implemented.