[Job] Asthma UK, Writer, ????, clos 15 April 2011 #scicomm jobs #healthcomm

This came to me via PiF, the Patient Information Forum whose website is http://www.pifonline.org.uk/ and the site for this job is http://www.pifonline.org.uk/writer-needed-for-asthma-uk/

It is not on Asthma UK’s jobs page though, maybe it will be added… 

I think Asthma UK recently won the ‘best website’ category in the AMRC’s science communication awards.

SPCs mean Summary of Product Characteristics and are detailed documents containing info about drugs, aimed at prescribers. They’re freely available online at the eMC (electronic medicines compendium) along with the PILs which are patient information leaflets (ie, packet inserts). You can also get PILs from other sources such as X-PIL which additionally provides a ‘read out over the phone’ service for visually impaired users. 

You can get useful information about the classes of drugs (to orient you, eMC is v detailed on a per drug basis) from the BNF (British National Formulary) which is free to use but registration is required.

It might also be useful to see what NICE guidance is available for the treatment of asthma, and check Cochrane Library? If time permitted I’d be tempted to look for case studies in medical literature as there could be pointers on how to reduce side-effects (“adverse events”). Poss not tho.

As a patient advocate I’d be quite chuffed if you managed to get info about the Yellow Card Scheme in which anyone can report a suspected adverse drug event.


Writer needed for Asthma UK

01 April 2011

News & Events > Job advertisements

Asthma UK is looking for a consumer health information writer to work with them to produce information on asthma medicines for their web site.

The information is aimed at people with severe asthma. It will need to be user-friendly but with enough detail to try and address some of the key issues for people with severe asthma.  Asthma UK’s report on severe asthma highlighted that people particularly need more information on the effectiveness of the medication, the side-effects and how to reduce any side-effects. 

Topics, length and format
The topics to be covered would include all the drugs used to treat severe asthma.  However this would also include drugs used for asthma in general as people receiving high level treatment would also be on regular asthma treatments.  The list below is a list of the drug information that we would need to include but there may be some sharing of this work between Asthma UK and the writer depending on capacity and cost.

  • Short acting beta 2 agonists
  • Inhaled corticosteroids
  • Long acting beta 2 agonists
  • Leukotriene receptor antagonists
  • Oral steroids (long term and short term)
  • Theophylline
  • Slow release Beta 2 agonist tablets
  • Anticholinergics
  • Nedocromil/Cromoglicate
  • Continuous subcutaneous Terbutaline
  • Methotrexate
  • Ciclosporin
  • Oral gold
  • Omalizumab

The amount of text needed for each medicine is estimated to be about 2 sides A4 when printed out from the website, although this may vary. The format may include headings below but suggestions for others are welcome:

  • Description of drug and why it is prescribed
  • How to take it
  • How long it takes to work
  • What are the side effects
  • How to reduce side effects
  • Any special checks needed
  • Important points to remember

Asthma UK have started to gather some information from SPC’s, PIL’s and evidence based research, although it varies between the drugs. The research is expected to be evidence based and provide enough of a background to allow the writer to provide information on specific drugs,  which will address the main concerns of people taking medication.

Submitting your application
Please submit your application addressing the points raised in the sections above.  Please include details of two referees – one of these must be a current or recent employer.
Submissions (maximum of three A4, font size 12 pages) should be emailed to Amy Douglas at: adouglas@asthma.org.uk by 15 April 2011.

Short-listed applicants will be asked to undertake a telephone interview with the Health Promotion Team at Asthma UK. Urgent queries about this role can be addressed to adouglas@asthma.org.uk.

Please include details of your daily rate and the number of days you think this work will require.

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