Operating within a highly regulated environment, independent community pharmacists are no strangers to regulatory standards and patient safety measures. However, the pandemic has added a new dimension to risk management, presenting a new – and largely unknown – biological hazard within the workplace.
Risk assessment is therefore essential, not only to fulfil your duty of care but to uphold regulatory standards and improve your claims defensibility.
By now, you should have completed a suitable and sufficient COVID-19 risk assessment, identifying all potentially hazardous situations and the reasonably practicable controls in place to reduce transmission risk to a minimum. This should cover all employees and anybody else who might be affected by your activities. If you have staff who fall within the “clinically vulnerable” or “clinically extremely vulnerable” groups identified in the guidance, it is strongly encouraged to complete an individual risk assessment, and this should now be a high priority given the imminent end to shielding.
If these at-risk individuals are to return to work, as you may be relying on given the increased demand for services, a thorough assessment of the risks must be carried out and appropriate measures put in place to ensure their safety.
Don’t forget than as an NPA member, you can access free professional support throughout this period and beyond:
- The Coronavirus Advice Hub contains regularly updated resources, including risk-assessment templates, checklists and FAQs to help you understand your responsibilities and operate compliantly.
- COVID-19 has highlighted certain areas where pharmacies are exposed to general risk. Health & Safety One2One offers hands-on support with risk assessments, documentation and emergency planning at a preferential rate.
For further advice call the NPA Health & Safety Advisory Service on 0330 123 0558 or email [email protected]
MedAdvisor app: support during the pandemic
MedAdvisor has been endorsed by the NPA as the recommended digital medication management platform for the UK independent community pharmacy market.
Jamal Butt, CEO of MedAdvisor UK said: “As a pharmacist myself, I understand the enormous pressures and stress that community pharmacy is facing with the pandemic in these unprecedented times.
“Limited GP access, increased workload for pharmacy teams and the need to maintain social distancing creates new challenges that the MedAdvisor app is uniquely placed to help you overcome.”
Jamal explains five ways the MedAdvisor app can help pharmacies:
- Patients can order their medication from a pre-loaded list of medication and their order is automatically sent to their GP, helping to maintain social distancing.
- Lockdown has changed the way people work, shop and travel. MedAdvisor promotes loyalty to your pharmacy as the patient can easily place their repeat prescription order and you can maintain two-way communication.
- You can let patients know when their medication is ready, reducing unnecessary pharmacy team interactions.
- MedAdvisor is highly automated, it can save you time and effort so you have more resilience if some of your team are socially isolated, giving you more capacity to deal with the increasing pressures your business faces.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, we appreciate that pharmacy teams have had less time to speak to patients. The MedAdvisor app provides digital communication to support medication adherence via targeted digital adherence programmes.
For more information go to www.npa.co.uk/businesspartners/medadvisor