Community pharmacies including independents fare better than larger chains when it comes to safe staffing, providing patients with regular access to a pharmacist and the ability of staff to raise concerns, according to a survey by the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA).
A study, carried out between January and May 2018 and based on the views of pharmacists and pharmacy staff in the UK, revealed independents are doing well compared with Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) multiples such as Boots, Lloydspharmacy and ASDA on a range of safety issues, although the survey exposed a worrying number of independent community pharmacies that are also struggling to meet standards.
The results found that 1.6% of CCA multiples compared with 5.3% of community pharmacies achieved safe staffing levels and ensured all staff were suitably trained and competent all of the time.
Some 76.4% of CCA multiples compared with 60.9% of community pharmacies achieved that about half the time or less.
Over 56% of community pharmacies compared with 44% of CCA multiples provided patients with access to a pharmacist all of the time, with 17.5% of CCA multiples doing so about half the time or less compared with 11.5% of community pharmacies.
More pharmacists (11.4%) were able to take their statutory and contractual rest breaks all of the time in community pharmacies than in the multiples (8.2%).
In 69.5% of multiples compared with 68.1% of community pharmacies, pharmacists were able to take their rest breaks only about half the time or less.
More pharmacists in community pharmacies were able to raise concerns without fear of reprisals all of the time (13.7%) than in CCA multiples (4.8%) while 10.8% of community pharmacies compared with 5.6% of CCA multiples had a trained and competent member of staff on hand to provide an independent accuracy check all of the time.
That was achieved by 51% of CCA multiples compared with just over 44% of community pharmacies only half the time or less.
More pharmacists in community pharmacies (10.3%) than in CCA multiples (7.5%) were encouraged and enabled to use their professional judgement all of the time and not have their professional autonomy inhibited by “organisational and other targets.”
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