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This month, Xrayser talks about another IT fail by Pharmacy First as community pharmacy pushed through Maundy Thursday

What a couple of months we’ve had with Pharmacy First and IT! Last month I spoke about teething problems with Pharmacy First IT, well, those teething problems have turned into a tsunami.

Social media was in a frenzy talking about everything that was going wrong. Pharmacy phones were engaged with people being on hold for hours at a time to helpdesks. End of month figures were all wrong resulting in pharmacies potentially losing significant sums of money. I suppose the real question is: what were we expecting from an NHS service that was set up in three months with December in the middle?

Read more: Xrayser: Ready, set, go! Will Pharmacy First win the race?

I’ve always said that good IT would solve many of the problems the NHS has, the cost of which would save billions. It just feels as though everything is so complex, but it doesn’t need to be. We just need to think out of the box and start every service with a clean slate before we start designing it.

The one thing we need to not do, when things go wrong, is take to social media to complain about it. I standby what I said last month: social media is not the platform to raise all the concerns we have. This helps nobody. The public simply lose trust and faith in the service and in healthcare professionals. Let’s raise concerns through the right channels instead.

I recognise that things can be difficult, as we are patient-facing and Pharmacy First is not the only service we do, so IT issues can feel much bigger than they actually are as we’re trying to fix them while multi-tasking a million other things! (By the way, please note, I’m a technophobe so I get very stressed when IT fails!).

Read more: Xrayser: Happy New Year!

In other news, there’s been a lot about healthcare records and privacy. It made me reflect on our role as healthcare professionals and how we truly are the keeper of many secrets. Not only do we know about people’s medical conditions, but often also that of their families. People tell us things that perhaps they have never told anyone else.

This made me think about what a privilege it is to be a pharmacist. But in the lead up to maundy Thursday - which traditionally is the busiest day in community pharmacy (even more than Christmas Eve) - many pharmacists won’t feel like it’s a privilege to be a pharmacist.

Although, the one thing I do know is that regardless of busy Maundy Thursdays, broken IT systems and multi-tasking a million different things, community pharmacy is agile and adaptable and we always make things work. It’s just what we do.

The identity of Xrayser remains a mystery, but their irreverent views are known by all. You can Tweet them @Xrayserpharmacy

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