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The role of community pharmacists in developing and implementing deprescribing initiatives in primary care

Faculty of Medicine and Health

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Dr D Alldred No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

This is an exciting opportunity to undertake a PhD within the Yorkshire and Humber Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (Yorkshire and Humber PSTRC), a partnership between the University of Leeds and Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust. The Yorkshire and Humber PSTRC is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and is one of three research centres in England funded to ‘pull advances in basic research with potential relevance to patient safety into an applied research setting’. You will also be part of a stimulating and supportive network of students working across the three research centres.

This prestigious award is available to an exceptional candidate who can demonstrate excellent academic ability, an enthusiasm for healthcare safety, the drive and determination to undertake a PhD and an ambition to work in a multi-disciplinary team to deliver research that makes healthcare safer.

Project Aim: To investigate how community pharmacists can be integrated in the process of deprescribing to develop a sustainable practice model of deprescribing in community settings

Up to half of older people are prescribed inappropriate medicines and deprescribing has been proposed as a solution to address this global problem and to reduce iatrogenic harm. The process of deprescribing is complex and multifaceted, but a key element is to monitor, follow-up and support patients during and following withdrawal of a medicine. This is because adverse drug withdrawal effects can occur on cessation of medicines (for example, with benzodiazepines, antidepressants, opioid analgesics), and these require identification and appropriate management to ensure successful outcomes. However, little is known about the best way of implementing and integrating deprescribing initiatives in healthcare settings.

Medicines safety issues occur particularly at the transition/boundary between community pharmacy and other parts of the primary care health system. Community pharmacists already support patients with medicines optimisation activities such as Medicines Use Reviews (MURs) and the New Medicines Service (NMS), and are well placed, qualified and accessible to become an integral part of deprescribing initiatives. Given the fact that deprescribing of medicines can have system-wide implications, it is important to study the current understanding and readiness of community pharmacists towards deprescribing initiatives and the likely facilitators and barriers to their involvement in such initiatives.

This PhD will explore the potential of community pharmacy to act as a proactive ’safety net’ after medicines have been deprescribed, by earlier detection of potential adverse effects arising from medicines being stopped or doses reduced (e.g. the return of symptoms or occurrence of withdrawal effects).

You will work with a supervisory team of experts in deprescribing research from the Universities of Leeds and Bradford within the Safe Use of Medicines Theme of the Yorkshire and Humber PSTRC


You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper second class honours degree, or suitable postgraduate degree in a health-related subject (e.g. nursing, pharmacy, etc.), psychology, or social science. You will be enthusiastic, organised and motivated with experience in, or knowledge of healthcare services. Importantly, you will be committed to fully engaging with staff and patients and a wider multi-disciplinary team to conduct high-quality research that is of value to the NHS.

The Faculty minimum requirements for candidates whose first language is not English are:
• British Council IELTS – score of 6.5 overall, with no element less than 6.0
• TOEFL iBT – overall score of 92 with the listening and reading element no less than 21, writing element no less than 22 and the speaking element no less than 23.

How to apply:

To apply for this project applicants should complete a Faculty Scholarship Application form using the link below and send this alongside a 300 word research proposal based on the project brief, a full academic CV, degree certificates and transcripts (or marks so far if still studying) to the Faculty Graduate School at [Email Address Removed]

We also require 2 academic references to support your application. Please ask your referees to send these references on your behalf, directly to [Email Address Removed] by no later than Friday 21 June 2019.

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to [Email Address Removed].

If you would like to know more about this scholarship or the work of the Yorkshire and Humber PSTRC, please contact: Professor David Alldred ([Email Address Removed]).

Planned interview date Friday 5 July 2019

Funding Notes

This PhD scholarship is available for UK and EU citizens only, available to commence study on 1 October 2019. The scholarship will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £14,777, increasing each year subject to satisfactory progress, and will cover the UK/EU tuition fees.

This project is supported by the National Institute for Health Research. For more information about the Patient Safety Translational Research Centres see and for the Yorkshire and Humber PSTRC where this scholarship will be hosted see:
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