Focus on making a positive impact on people’s experiences in pharmacy

19 December 2016

We hope that this series of articles will help pharmacy owners and the pharmacy team continually improve the services they provide to patients and the public.

This month we are focusing on how pharmacy professionals and owners can make a positive impact on people’s experiences when visiting a pharmacy.

The current standards of conduct, ethics and performance set out the behaviours expected of pharmacy professionals for people to be able to receive the advice and care they need. As a pharmacy professional, you should think about the ways your behaviour could make a positive impact on a person seeking care.

Our standards for registered pharmacies set out the responsibilities of the pharmacy owner and superintendent pharmacist to provide facilities and an environment which supports patient safety and improves quality of care. As a pharmacy owner or superintendent pharmacist, you should consider how your pharmacy can provide facilities or arrangements that can make it easier for a person to receive the care they need.

People have a right to receive quality services and safe and effective care from pharmacies. Our report on Public perceptions of pharmacy told us that pharmacists are viewed as an important source of information and that the majority of people trust the advice they receive from pharmacists. It also told us that generally, people have a positive perception of pharmacy staff.

Pharmacy owners need to think about how many staff are needed for their pharmacy, what qualifications and skills staff should have and how they are deployed and managed to provide services safely and effectively.

By having the right staffing and governance arrangements in place, pharmacy owners can help to make sure the pharmacy team can focus on how to help people have a positive, high quality experience that also safeguards their health, safety and wellbeing. Pharmacy owners, and the pharmacy team, should also take an active approach to building relationships with other healthcare professionals in their area, to help provide consistent and informed advice to people seeking care.

Here are some examples from our inspections of how pharmacy professionals and registered pharmacies have made sure each person has a positive and high quality experience.

A village pharmacy took steps to make sure people were at the heart of the services they provided, including:

  • The pharmacist was an independent prescriber and actively used the consultation room to talk to people in private, especially those on new or high-risk medicines. The pharmacist would inform the person about any possible side effects of the medicine, follow up and review the impact on the person and adjust the dosage if necessary.
  • The pharmacy developed a positive relationship with the staff at the local surgery. The pharmacist held fortnightly meetings and shared necessary information with the surgery staff regularly through a newsletter. Working closely with the staff at the local surgery helped provide continuous care from the doctor to the pharmacist.
  • The pharmacist attended local events to promote the pharmacy’s services and took on feedback and recommendations from other health professionals and people in the community about what services or products the pharmacy could offer.

A busy, independent city pharmacy was proactive in promoting their sexual health and drug-therapy services and responding to the needs of the community.

  • The pharmacy premises provided direct access to the substance misuse area to protect people’s privacy. They had a television in the waiting area, raising awareness on how to deal with a substance misuse emergency.
  • Within the pharmacy, there was a health promotion notice board that advertised the services offered such as sexual health tests.
  • Pharmacy staff made sure they kept in contact with doctors in the area, which led to identifying a gap in services needed by the community. The pharmacy responded by training their staff to provide wrist splints to people waiting for operations for carpel tunnel syndrome and this became a regular service they offered in the future.
  • The June issue of Regulate, Focus on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, also provides some helpful examples of how a pharmacy’s staff and facilities available, can contribute to a person having a positive experience when seeking care.

Find out more

  • The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has published a report on Measuring and improving patients’ experience of care, to explain the importance of promoting good patient experiences.
  • The King’s Fund provides a toolkit to help organisations focus on Patient and Family-centred Care. This toolkit provides many resources such as a step-by-step guide and case studies about ways to improve a person’s experience. 
  • NHS England provide a set of slides and a resource pack for pharmacies in their call to action, for ideas about how to improve patients’ experience in pharmacy.
  • The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee provides a Healthy Living Pharmacy framework to improve the consistency and quality of pharmacy services.
  • The Health Foundation has published the report, Realising the Value, which provides information on practical ways to provide person-centred care in primary care.

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