Two new guides to help with pandemic training are available to download from the NPA website.
Two training guides have been created by the NPA to support community pharmacies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The resources have been developed in response to the challenging working conditions pharmacies are finding themselves in, as the outbreak continues to affect the country.
There are two types for training available – one for pharmacy staff and the other for volunteers. The pandemic training guides are not GPhC or PSNI accredited and do not require staff to do any specific training activities or work.
In the case of volunteers, once they are recruited, the responsible pharmacist or superintendent will need to ensure that the volunteer reads the pandemic training guide and relevant pharmacy standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Shafayat Choudhury, Learning and Development Pharmacist at the NPA, who helped to develop the guide for volunteers says it is “vital” they undergo basic training “as a minimum” to be able to carry out any tasks they are assigned.
“The pandemic training for volunteers guide provides an outline of the particulars within a pharmacy, a brief overview of COVID-19 and how to adapt to the pharmacy environment and an overview of the tasks that volunteers may be expected to undertake,” he says.
“The training will ensure that volunteers are able to undertake their assigned roles while maintaining their own safety, as well as the safety of their colleagues and patients.”
Shafayat stresses that while many pharmacy teams are under immense pressure due to COVID-19, patient safety should not be compromised during the pandemic.
“Using volunteers is unexplored territory in pharmacy and there is the possibility that these individuals have very little, to no exposure to a pharmacy or healthcare setting.
“For these reasons, the pharmacist should do their best to ensure that this training is conducted – in an ideal situation, the pharmacist would go through the different elements of the training with the volunteer.
“If this is not possible, the volunteer can be left to read through the guide and ask any questions that they may have afterwards.”
When it comes to training existing pharmacy staff the NPA’s Pandemic training for pharmacy staff guide would help teams deal with the “many changes to the processes and structure of their environment,” says Janita Patel, Learning and Development Pharmacist at the NPA.
Janita, who developed the training for staff says some pharmacists may already have briefed their team on changes in their local environment, on good hygiene and social distancing measures, but many are understandably very busy and may not have updated their teams on all the things that are happening in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This training guide will summarise all the key points about the coronavirus, social distancing measures to be considered, and other changes that may affect the staff. It can be a good reference point for staff to be able to refer to, and also highlight where to obtain key resources,” she says.
Janita adds that the COVID-19 pandemic is adding massively to the workload of pharmacy teams around the country.
“There may be tasks that staff have to do that they have not done before and may have to be upskilled to do certain job roles, if other colleagues have had to self-isolate.
“Pharmacy teams have to also ensure that they are not putting their own health at risk by following the correct social distancing and hygiene measures, which are outlined in the training guide and in other resources on the NPA website.”
To access the free training guides go to www.npa.co.uk/learning-and-development where there are links at the top of the page to download the guides.