We have been celebrating our centenary year and had the honour of receiving a tribute from HRH the Prince of Wales who thanked pharmacy teams for their service to the nation.
However our focus has continued to be the day to day work of helping NPA members with their business, practice and development needs.
Like you, our valued members, we have faced the demands of the pandemic by stepping up yet another gear to provide the very best support possible, in uniquely challenging circumstances for the entire health care sector.
Here’s just some of the work the NPA has done in 2021 to support our members in Wales...
We produced comprehensive guidance and timely updates to help members with home deliveries, covid vaccinations and, near the close of the year, the latest response to a threatened fourth wave.
We made partnership arrangements for pharmacies to offer fit to fly PCR tests.
With the government scaling back state-backing for covid vaccination indemnity, NPA Insurance developed affordable and sustainable solutions, working with the NHS to keep premiums low.
Raising the profile of independent community pharmacy
NPA board members and other NPA members have appeared on national TV and Radio frequently throughout the year with dozens of appearances on the BBC and other main broadcast channels, as well as widespread newspaper coverage. This helps to reinforce the increasingly positive perceptions people have of community pharmacy, especially in light of the sector’s covid response. In total, the NPA has been in the press over 500 times this year.
New pharmacy practice resources
Too many to list here! But for easy reference, we’ve grouped some of our new resources into website hubs:
- Covid - https://www.npa.co.uk/coronavirus-updates/
- Services SOPs - https://www.npa.co.uk/information-and-guidance/services-sops/
- Whistleblowing guidance - https://www.npa.co.uk/information-and-guidance/whistleblowing/
- NPA Malaria chart - https://www.npa.co.uk/information-and-guidance/new-updated-npa-malaria-chart-2021-2/
- Pharmacy team guide on long covid - https://www.npa.co.uk/information-and-guidance/launch-of-pharmacy-team-guide-on-long-covid/
Meanwhile, the NPA’s Advice & Support Service has answered thousands of calls and emails helping members with all types of queries relating to professional community pharmacy practice. Find out more about this core member benefit HERE.
Pro Delivery Manager (PDM) has helped even more pharmacies deliver prescriptions to patients in a safe and efficient way. In 2021 over 1,000,000 prescriptions were made every month using PDM and new partnerships with most PMR system providers is making it easier to use than ever before.
The ‘My Pharmacy Insights’ service has been rolled out to all NPA members. In partnership with data company Real World Analytics (RWA), the tool gives members the ability to your own pharmacy’s performance, compare it to other pharmacies (and against the national picture), to make better business decisions as a result.
Expert help for your business
The NPA has selected more Business Partners to support you in every area of your business, with essential products and services to help meet your requirements - often with negotiated preferential rates for members. Expert advice is available on: increasing your patient footfall; working more efficiently using smart software; managing your finances; buying or selling a pharmacy; claiming tax relief; managing your team; saving on utilities; improving the look of your pharmacy and marketing; and more.
Learning and development
Student satisfaction for those who took part in NPA’s training courses remains high. Analysis of course evaluation forms from a sample of 550 students also revealed that nearly 95% of students agreed that the course was beneficial to their role in community pharmacy with almost 90% of students being likely or very likely to use the NPA for future training needs.
The Kickstart Scheme is a government scheme introduced in Great Britain to fund the creation of high quality jobs for young people. Around 500 kickstarters received work experience in a community pharmacy this year. Aside from developing new skills and confidence, they were given opportunity to undertake NPA's Medicines counter assistant training course. The scheme provided our members with a government funded resource for their busy teams and attracted young people to community pharmacy. www.npa.co.uk/kickstart-scheme
We have worked with new partners – ECG - to deliver our vaccination training and PGD programme. ECG has an excellent reputation within the industry and partnering with them has enabled us to offer better pricing and an improved selection this year. Nearly 1,800 pharmacists have undertaken vaccination training (face-to-face and/or online) since May. www.npa.co.uk/pgd
Although the NPA’s pass rate for the 2019/2020 cohort exceeded the national pass rate of 88%, the NPA continued to look at ways to enhance our training to develop trainee pharmacists into confident and competent pharmacists. One new element is a bespoke workshop with the RPS and RCGP covering skills for clinical consultations including examinations, identifying red flags, promoting self-care and completing accurate clinical records. Linked to this programme, our eLearning Mock Exams helped over 500 trainees with their GPhC assessment this year. www.npa.co.uk/training/foundation
Membership and member communications
We’ve introduced a digital ‘InPharmacy’ and WhatsApp groups as new channels to receive timely information from the NPA. In the coming year, we’ll be overhauling the NPA’s website, which is full of key resources and support material, but isn’t easy to navigate.
The NPA listened carefully to members’ priorities which has shaped the way services and support are provided. There was a significant member consultation through 2021 that led to the agreement of a new membership structure. In addition to NPA’s Full Membership Package, there will now also be a Core Membership Package from January 2022, which doesn’t include as many services, and may suit some larger pharmacy groups better.
This year NPA Insurance has supported members delivering Covid-19 vaccinations by providing cover solutions for areas of risk not backed by the government. This includes a public liability extension to professional indemnity policies for vaccinations undertaken off-site and low value cover for clinical negligence risks arising out of vaccine administration. NPAI has also supported members in responding to Covid-19 related complaints and claims, including alleged disability discrimination arising out of the legal requirement to wear face coverings in pharmacy premises. The claims team’s efforts have led to what is believed to be the first judicial decision in the area, which backs actions taken by pharmacies to enforce the wearing of face coverings where exemption is not stated.
As part of its ongoing commitment to protect community pharmacies, NPA Insurance (NPAI) introduced PharmaKey, as an inclusive benefit to NPA members at no extra cost. The new insurance policy covers business premises’ locks and lost keys and is just one of several new products available.
Centenary review of ‘core beliefs’
As well as commemorating the past, we have also used our centenary year to think about the future. To that end, we consulted about our statement of ‘Core Beliefs’, asking whether it is fit for the present day and the decades ahead. The purpose of such a statement is to give everyone with an interest in the future of independent community pharmacy (not just the NPA itself) a point of reference for all that they say or do in the sector’s name. Here’s the new statement(s) that will guide us in the years ahead: www.npa.co.uk/the-npa/npa-statement-core-beliefs/