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NPA Essential: April 2023

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NPA Essential: April 2023

This month’s key notes

Save Our Pharmacies campaign + new petition!

A new campaign website called www. saveourpharmacies. co.uk has been created by the national pharmacy bodies to give new focus to calls for fair pharmacy funding in England. The site contains key messages for the public, politicians and stakeholders, and hosts campaign resources which can be used by pharmacy teams.

It will undergo further development as the campaign progresses, with new resources added to ensure maximum public engagement. Members of the public and pharmacy teams are encouraged to show their support for the campaign on social media, as well as signing the petition and contacting their local MPs about fair funding. It is the latest output of a joint programme of work being coordinated by the NPA,PSNC, CCA and AIM.

The group has also published a new public petition on the ‘38 Degrees’ platform, which calls for immediate, fair and sustainable funding to safeguard NHS pharmacy services. NPA members are urged to sign the petition themselves and share it within their networks – it can be signed by members of the public too!

Sign up for latest HEE IP training courses

Applications for Health Education England Independent Prescribing training during the Spring are open. Courses will be available between April 2023 and March 2024, with several universities offering multiple dates for cohort intakes.

We encourage pharmacists who meet the eligibility criteria to apply as soon as possible. See more detail on the link below and read our ‘hints and tips’ document for more support. For those who are qualified IPs and are interested in becoming a Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DDP), you can fin further information on how to become a DPP.

Find out more here: https://www. hee.nhs.uk/our-work/pharmacy/ independent-prescribing

NPA foundation training plan for 2023/24

The NPA training plan is now available for members who are applying to provide approved pharmacist foundation training for the 2023/24 year. The training plan is mapped to the interim learning outcomes as set out in the GPhC requirements. If you require a copy, contact Member Services at: training@npa.co.uk

Launch of supervisor satisfaction process

We have just introduced a process for supervisors and training managers to provide feedback once their student has completed their learning. The student feedback we receive is important to us and we want to increase the information we gather from those purchasing and using our training.

When a student completes their course, an email from the NPA L&D team will automatically be sent to the supervisor who enrolled them on the course. The email contains a link to a short online survey that will take just a few minutes to complete. To see how our student satisfaction ratings increased in 2022, view our video here: www.npa.co.uk/training/ student-satisfaction-scores/

UK Covid-19 inquiry opening statement by the NPA

The NPA is formally a ‘core participant’ in the Covid-19 public inquiry. On 28 February, lawyer Brian Stanton made an opening statement on the NPA’s behalf.

It focused on three areas: health inequalities and the needs of vulnerable patients; the impact of medicine shortages and medicine price increases; and the challenge that community pharmacies faced in responding to the pandemic and maintaining patient services following long term under-investment.

Mr Stanton said: “The UK’s community pharmacies were on the frontline of effort to limit the impact of coronavirus and to keep people well, and as well as handling a massive increase in demand for healthcare advice and medicines, they also continued to provide urgent care and vital support to people with long-term medical conditions.

“However, there are now very many at risk of closure due to underfunding, and when the Inquiry comes to consider its recommendations the NPA would encourage you [the presiding judge] to think about how resilience can be built into future plans.”

The statement included a compelling account of the commitment typical of so many pharmacies during the pandemic – from husband and wife team Pete and Sukhi Johal, both NPA members and pharmacists, who co-own Calow Pharmacy in Chesterfield.

The NPA’s chief executive, Mark Lyonette, said: “This is an historic opportunity to place on record the achievements of community pharmacies during the pandemic and to ensure that the inquiry’s recommendations are based in the practical realities faced by health workers such as our members. “It is important that the community pharmacy story is told and that lessons are learned.

"We hope this process will result in recognition of the broad role that community pharmacy plays in health care, and action that will better equip the health service to be resilient against, and responsive to, future public health crises.

“As well as handling a massive increase in demand for advice and medicines during the pandemic, our members continued to provide urgent care, offer help for minor illnesses, supported people with long-term medical conditions, and assisted victims of domestic abuse. They kept vulnerable people supplied with medicines and played a key part in Covid testing and the vaccination programme.”

The inquiry also heard from the NPA about the difficulties pharmacists had in obtaining PPE and not initially being recognised as key workers. You can watch back NPA’s full module 3 preliminary statement to the Covid-19 inquiry here: youtu.be/Z48GV1HH_d8 For further information about the inquiry go to: https://covid19.public inquiry.uk/

Majority of independent pharmacies in England lost money during 2022

Nine out of 10 (91 per cent) pharmacy owners responding to a National Pharmacy Association (NPA) survey made a net loss from dispensing medicines for the NHS during 2022, for at least one month of the year.

The poll of over 200 independent pharmacies revealed that 48 per cent lost money on this core NHS service for six months or more in 2022. Ninety-three per cent of the respondents experienced at least one month of negative cashflow across their business overall, and 45 per cent said their overall outgoings had exceeded overall income in at least six months of the year.

Opening fewer hours

To manage costs, a third (33 per cent) said they had reduced their opening hours, 59 per cent had reduced staffing, while 38 per cent had limited or stopped some NHS services. A majority (59 per cent) had limited or stopped previously free support like home deliveries, or introduced charges.

Forty per cent of owners said they had increased their bank borrowing in 2022 to maintain operations, while a fifth had asked families for financial help.

NPA chair Andrew Lane said: “This survey shows the bleak financial reality facing many independent pharmacies after years of underfunding. Dispensing at a loss and negative cashflow is clearly unsustainable. “This funding crisis must be addressed urgently or pharmacies will fall into a spiral of declining services and ultimately widespread closures. Tragically, the story is playing out very much in line with independent research commissioned by the NPA last year, which warned of a nationwide financial emergency in our sector.”

The survey ran online in February and 222 independent pharmacy owners and senior managers took part.

New Brexit deal for Northern Ireland ‘cautiously’ welcomed by NPA

The Windsor Framework, agreed by the Prime Minister and European Commission President on 27 February, replaces the old Northern Ireland Protocol and appears to address several issues that were threatening the ready supply and availability of medicines in the country.

The NPA’s Northern Ireland manager, Anne McAlister, said: “While the devil may yet be in the detail, the Windsor Framework would appear to be good news for pharmacies in Northern Ireland. It seems to address the main concerns we have expressed about medicines supplies to NI, but we want to examine the small print to ensure the new arrangements meet the needs of our members and the patients they serve.

"Given the complexities of political life in Northern Ireland, we are not celebrating a done deal just yet, however we are cautiously optimistic about the progress made.”

Last year, and again in January, the NPA gave evidence to an inquiry by the House of Lords European Affairs Sub-Committee on the Northern Ireland Protocol. On 24 February, the committee wrote to the Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, summarising their findings regarding the provision of medicines to Northern Ireland, including the suggestion that medicines could be removed from the scope of the Protocol.

The NPA explained to the inquiry that the medicines supply to Northern Ireland is integrated into the UK market and works on a just-in-time basis. The Association expressed concerns that the additional cost and complexity of getting medicines to Northern Ireland under the Protocol would result in more manufacturers and suppliers not bringing products to the market.

Leadership training

The NPA launched its new Leadership training programme to recognise the evolving nature of the roles that pharmacists, technicians, support staf and trainees play within community pharmacy. This training is aimed at helping all members of the pharmacy team to manage the transition and support each other during the challenging times. Below three features of the training and how they may benefi your team are highlighted:

• In webinar format (with a workbook PDF), the concise training can be completed online in a few hours, so can be accomplished within a working day.

• This large topic is broken down into manageable sections – making it easy and quick to absorb for those completely new to Leadership and for those wishing to have a refresher.

• Regardless of their role within the pharmacy, delegates will gain an understanding of the importance of good communication skills and how these can engender team efficiency, motivation, productivity and wellbeing. Find out more about Leadership training and how it can strengthen your team at: bit.ly/3l4kefI

GPhC training requirements for delivery drivers

Do you have a driver or member of staff who provides a collection or delivery service to patients? In line with the training requirements introduced in October 2020, new staf providing these services must be enrolled onto a GPhC accredited training course as soon as is practical and within three months of commencing their role. If you have existing pharmacy support staff who provide the services detailed above, they need to have completed an approved training course: you may be asked for evidence of this during a GPhC inspection.

The NPA’s ‘Delivering medicines safely and effectively’ course is GPhC accredited and available in blended (paper course workbooks with online assessment) and eLearning formats. The course, which takes 2-3 months to complete, provides staff with critical knowledge on delivering medicines to ensure the safety of patients and reduce the risk of errors. The course helps to enhance customer service to housebound patients, increases the job satisfaction of your extended team and provides evidence of staff competency.

Upon successful completion of the assessment and the upload of a completed competency booklet, an end-of course e-certificate will be provided from the NPA. Find out more here: bit.ly/3mJQaXe

7 ways to engage your employees in workplace health and safety

Creating and maintaining a positive health and safety culture is essential for any organisation. Establishing safety as a shared value can help to reduce accidents, lost time, and associated costs, leading to increased productivity and efficienc It can also improve employee morale and retention rates, making it an essential aspect of organisational success. However, many organisations struggle to develop and maintain a positive safety culture.

  1. Define people’s roles and responsibilities Defining people’s roles and responsibilities is a critical aspect of establishing a positive health and safety culture in the workplace. By ensuring that key personnel know what’s expected of them, it becomes easier to monitor performance against these areas and defin clear lines of responsibility.
  2. Take action against unsafe behaviours Discipline is another strategy that organisations can use as a last resort when employees aren’t following safety requirements. Although it’s not an ideal solution, it can be effectiv in making people pay attention and understand the importance of safety.
  3. Build trust and respect Gaining respect is amongst the most difficult challenges new health and safety managers face. It requires a balance of firmness and trust, as going in and immediately enforcing rules without building relationships and understanding the organisation’s culture first can lead to resistance and a lack of engagement. To build trust and respect, health and safety managers must communicate effectivel with employees and listen to their concerns. They should involve employees in the development of health and safety policies, procedures and risk assessments, and make sure that everyone understands why these are important.
  4. Lead by example Managers who consistently follow health and safety guidelines and encourage others to do the same demonstrate a commitment to safety that can inspire confidence in employees. Visible management can also play a critical role in promoting safety. Leaders who prioritise safety and visibly demonstrate their commitment to it can help create a positive safety culture.
  5. Educate and involve Attitudes play a crucial role in the development of a positive safety culture, and two factors that can help address negative attitudes towards safety are education and engagement. Effective training programs can help employees understand importance of good health and safety practices and develop the skills and knowledge they need to perform their jobs safely. This doesn’t have to be boring – mock trials, for example, allow employees to experience a simulated health and safety incident in a controlled environment, making them an impactful way to drive home the risks and consequences associated with unsafe behaviour or conditions.
  6. Communicate your commitment Informing employees of the organisation’s intention to promote a positive safety culture is crucial. Some ways to demonstrate your commitment to providing a safe working environment include: • Increasing visibility (for example, conducting walk arounds with staff) • Providing adequate information, instruction, and training to help employees develop a better understanding of safety expectations; • Sending out regular safety bulletins and memos.
  7. Enlist expert support consultancy services can also play an essential role in developing a positive safety culture. Companies such as WorkNest have experience in improving safety cultures across a variety of industries and sectors, making them a valuable resources. 

NPA members have free access to a selection of compliance, performance and health & safety eLearning courses for the whole pharmacy team. Find out more at LearningNest here: www.npa.co.uk/worknest/learningnest

Bank holiday reminder

Community pharmacies are not required to remain open during named bank holidays, as set out in The National Health Service (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013. Community pharmacies can remain closed without the need of notice, unless directed by NHS England to open their pharmacies. The table (below) indicates when a pharmacy can close without direction to remain open by NHSE:

Key points for pharmacy teams:

• Review your NHS 111 Directory of Services (DoS) profile and NHS website profil ahead of the bank holidays to ensure your pharmacy’s opening hours are listed accurately

• If a pharmacy contractor intends to remain open on a bank holiday and has not yet updated their opening hours in the ‘Temporary changes to opening times’ section of the NHS Profile Manager, they should action this ahead of the bank holidays to indicate the pharmacy will be open

• Check, in advance, any controlled drug (CD) prescriptions received to ensure they are clinically suitable and legally valid to dispense. To read the rest of the advice go to NPA’s Information and guidance hub at: bit.ly/3yqhJat

NPA members can contact the Pharmacy Advice and Support Team for further information, advice and support on any pharmacy topic by emailing: pharmacyservices@npa.co.uk

Date Named Day Bank Holiday? Can pharmacy close without direction to remain open by NHSE&I?
Friday 7 April 2023 Good Friday Yes Yes
Sunday 9 April 2023 Easter Sunday Yes Yes
Monday 10 April 2023 Easter Monday Yes Yes
Monday 1 May 2023 Early May bank holiday Yes Yes
Monday 8 May 2023 Bank holiday for the Coronation of King Charles III Yes Yes
Monday 29 May 2023 Spring bank holiday Yes Yes
Monday 28 August 2023 Summer bank holiday Yes Yes
Monday 25 December 2023 Christmas Day Yes Yes
Tuesday 26 December 2023 Boxing Day Yes Yes

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