Examples of good practice in registered pharmacies during the COVID-19 pandemic
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Great Britain, pharmacies and pharmacy professionals have been adapting the way they work to ensure that their patients continue to receive the care and medicines they need.
Our inspectors – who during the crisis have stopped carrying out routine inspections and producing inspection reports – have been contacting pharmacies to offer support and to discuss their plans and arrangements during the pandemic. Through this work, our inspection team has identified over 90 examples of good practice by pharmacies in response to the challenges and issues they are facing at this time.
We’ve included some of them below, and you can find all of the examples in the knowledge hub section of our inspection website. Each one is linked to our principles and standards, so you can search by principle, as well as key words.
Each example only takes a few minutes to read and covers issues including managing delivery services and care home dispensing services, supporting vulnerable patients and working effectively with other local organisations during the pandemic.
We would encourage you to look at these examples and consider if you may be able to put them into practice within your pharmacy to continuously improve the services you provide to your patients.
Principle 1 – Governance
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic a pharmacy risk assessed and adapted its working processes to support the local population, by extending its opening hours to cover seven days a week, and reviewing its staffing levels and skill mix.
In response to the staffing review, the pharmacy had recruited extra delivery drivers, and split the workforce into two separate teams that covered three or four days each week. This meant team members had more space to work and had good periods of rest to support their own health and wellbeing.
The pharmacy also considered its contingency arrangements should a pharmacist need to self-isolate. It worked with a number of other healthcare organisations proactively to support continual access to medicines.
This example reflects a dedicated pharmacy team that is working hard to ensure people can safely access medicines, information and support during the pandemic.
Principle 2 – Staff
A pharmacy is helping team members cope with the challenges they face during the COVID-19 pandemic, and providing additional emotional support by arranging access to NHS counselling services.
The superintendent pharmacist had identified how his team members were feeling anxious and overwhelmed. This was in the wake of increased workload and stressful conditions caused by a heightened demand for pharmacy services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, he had spoken to the Local Pharmaceutical Committee about any support available for his team. They had referred him to the Clinical Commissioning Group, who had opened up their staff counselling service to members of the pharmacy team.
Being able to access counselling services means pharmacy team members are better equipped to deal with the additional workload during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are also more likely to remain at work meaning that continuity of service can be maintained for people using the pharmacy.
Principle 4 – Pharmacy services, including medicines management
A pharmacy has supported people in managing their health and wellbeing during Ramadan by participating in video-conference sessions run by a local mosque.
A pharmacist member of staff used question and answer sessions as part of the video conference to provide advice to people with diabetes, who were on medication and chose to fast during Ramadan.
The pharmacist took the opportunity to explain the added risk of hypoglycaemia for people taking medicines, such as insulin and sulfonylureas, and to offer support to help people to fast safely. For example, the pharmacist highlighted types of high glycaemic foods, which people should try to avoid in their pre-dawn meals.
Using technology in this way helps people access information from the safety of their own homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.