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Group behind delivery safety review sets out next priorities

The group consists of MSOs of large community pharmacy organisations and the NPA
The group consists of MSOs of large community pharmacy organisations and the NPA

The Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group has set out its next priorities, following the publication of its review of medicines delivery services.

The group (see more details below), which consists of representatives of all of the larger pharmacy chains, as well as the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), published a report on best practices for medicines delivery services last month.

As well as delivery services, the group’s other priorities include working with the NHS to improve the systems by which pharmacies can report patient safety incidences, as well as creating “top tips around dispensing children’s medicine”, according to Company Chemists' Association senior policy adviser Kate Livesey, who provides secretariat support for the group.

“Children are one of the most vulnerable patient groups. So that is an area we’re focusing on, because different pharmacies do things in different ways,” Ms Livesey told C+D last Friday (June 30).

“There’s a really simple tip somebody mentioned the other week, which was…using a stamp that said ‘child’ in red ink. Every time a prescription came in for somebody who was under 14, they stamped it.”

“It draws the team’s attention to that script in a different way,” Ms Livesey said. “They think about the small person behind the prescription, rather than potentially just seeing a piece of paper.”

Reasons for dispensing errors

The group will also follow up on some of the issues featured in the NPA’s medication safety officer’s reports, Ms Livesey explained.

“Everyone just accepts [what] the most common errors in [pharmacies] are. But we don’t want to accept that.”

As well as “looking at lettering on prescriptions”, she added that the group will consider if there is “a different way dispensaries can be organised that would help reduce the likelihood of some of those errors?”.

“It’s recognising that packaging…will be a contributory factor, but there may be other things that come into it – especially human factors.”

Explained: The Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group

When was it created?

Facilitated by Pharmacy Voice, the self-funded group was established in February 2015 by the medication safety officers of the larger community pharmacy organisations, as well as the NPA.

What is its aim?

“To regularly meet and openly share and learn from each other – as well as from other safety conscious industries – consider how learning would be applied across the pharmacy network, then work together to create the opportunities to do so.”

You can read more about the group's sector-wide work plan here.

Who are its members?

The group is chaired by Well superintendent Janice Perkins, and comprises representatives of the following organisations:

  • Well
  • Asda
  • Boots UK
  • Cohens Chemist
  • Day Lewis
  • Dudley Taylor Pharmacies
  • H I Weldrick Ltd
  • Lincolnshire Co-operative
  • Lloydspharmacy
  • Morrisons
  • National Pharmacy Association
  • NHS Improvement
  • Rowlands Pharmacy
  • Paydens Ltd
  • PCT Healthcare Ltd
  • Superdrug
  • Tesco
  • Waremoss
  • WR Evans Ltd

Where can I find out more?

Full details are available on the group’s website here.

What safety issues do you think the group should focus on?

Meera Sharma, Community pharmacist

This group wpuld do well to look at the root cause of some of these recent safety issues - staff & work pressures!! Something that every organisation seems very keen to brush under the carpet. You can stamp as many things in RED on any prescription, but if you've got a pressurised pharmacist & work environment, it is inevitable that it will get overlooked with dire consequences. Let's not put the cart before the horse!!

Yuna Mason, Sales

That would be against the interests of this group. The group lacks credibility by design.

Kate Livesey, Administration & Support

Hi 'Name' - of course this is not against our interests. We have spent a lot of time looking at the human factors impacting on safe pracitce, including the impact that stress can have on pharmacy teams.  All of the organisations are committed through their medication safety officers to support their teams to improve safety.  The NPA represents pharmacies with less than 50 pharmacies on our Group, as was directed by NHS Improvement in their initial alert but we're also seeking to work with other partners where relevant.  I'd be more than happy to speak further if you like, just drop me an email on [email protected]

Yuna Mason, Sales

Kate - everything the group has focused on on its website, and you did the same in your comment above, is how pharmacy teams can change the way they work to improve safety - and not how employers can do that. That's because the group represents employers/businesses and not the people on the ground, which is one of the major reasons it lacks credibility. But then I'm not saying anything that isn't obvious.

Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

Where are the manufacturers who have bad packaging?

Yuna Mason, Sales

The multiples are running a patient safety group on their own? Seriously?

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

Ironic right? Working in their pharmacies is in itself a patient safety issue yet they are promotig patient safety

Stuart Reeve, Community pharmacist

MDS dispensing 

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

Packaging presumably being something its too difficult to change.... unless of course the bad ones simply werent ordered, no matter what the price.... what are the chances?

Why doesnt the MHRA sort it - they are pernickerty about every other aspect of medicine safety?

Mmmm never mind the good old Pharmacist will sort it.. or not, then its their fault!

A Hussain, Senior Management

'Child' in red ink. Really.  As a pharmacist I look at the patients age on the script.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

As a Dispenser I also look at the patient's age on the script too.

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

No-one from Pharmacy2U there?  Maybe they actually read the letter sent to them by the Group before signing and returning it...

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