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NPA Essential: March 2023

NPA Essential

NPA Essential: March 2023

This month’s key notes

Providing pharmacy placements for students

As part of the new Initial Education and Training Standards of Pharmacists, pharmacy students will now be undergoing clinical placements in pharmacies as part of their undergraduate studies. This could be a great opportunity for NPA members to help shape the future of community pharmacy.

If you would like to offe a placement to a student complete the form at: A number of NPA members who showed an interest in having a pharmacy student work at their premises are currently being contacted by universities for placements in the next academic year. Please note that completing the form does not mean you will be guaranteed a placement. If you are based in the south and have already filled in a form for Portsmouth University placements there is no need to do so again. Should you wish to discuss this further e-mail Helga Mangion, NPA policy manager (

Pharmacy Advice and Support Guide

The NPA has created a simple six-page guide to help its members get the best out of the NPA’s Pharmacy Advice and Support Team. The document has all the important contacts required for the day-to-day working of community pharmacy teams and brings together the “quick links” to key resources. It also helps NPA members to navigate through everything that’s on offer in an efficient way and presents exactly what you need from NPA’s Pharmacy Services, which is a key benefit of membership.

The guide has three updated sections:

• Quick Links for the NPA website

• Hot Topics

• Detailed one-page Guide to examples of topics on which advice and support can be provided.

It’s not just the pharmacist who can contact the NPA Pharmacy Advice and Support Team – use your NPA membership as a team resource to get our expertise at your service. For further information go to:

New skills to empower your team

The NPA's training courses cover statutory requirements for all your team from the delivery driver through to the pharmacist/pharmacy owner, and include GPhC accredited training. The course overview table on pages 6-7 of our Training Prospectus highlights all courses by pharmacy team job role.

Download your copy of the prospectus here: Alternatively, select the appropriate job role under the 'All Training Courses and Programmes' section on the L&D home page to reveal all the NPA courses on offer. Go to: www.npa.

Election process for new NPA board

Ballots for the NPA board election are currently taking place with the results due to be announced end of March. This will allow the new board to assemble for the first time in the Spring. If there is an election in your area, we encourage you to use your vote. Board members play a really important role, contributing towards the leadership of independent community pharmacy and the governance of the NPA, defining its strategy, devising policy and ensuring the delivery of objectives by the management team. For further information go to:

Representing you

NPA chief executive Mark Lyonette met the Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, Wes Streeting, at Jaysons Pharmacy in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, recently. Mr Streeting was visiting Jaysons with Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for the local constituency of Erewash. “Many people still think that pharmacies are a place to get medicines you’ve been prescribed and maybe pick up some shampoo. That’s important work, but pharmacies are capable of doing so much more,” said Mr Streeting.

He described pharmacists as “highly trained, highly skilled, professional people” who could have a wider role in prevention and dealing with common ailments. “Fixing the front door to the NHS in primary care is one of Labour’s top priorities,” he said. Telling pharmacy teams: “We’re going to need you,” he asked for advice and ideas to help him develop Labour’s plans for the next general election. “I’m looking forward to keeping up the conversation with the National Pharmacy Association,” he said.

The owner of Jaysons Pharmacy, Nitin Lakhani, said: “We were delighted to welcome our visitors. I was proud to show them around our pharmacy and tell them about the vital work our team does every day to keep people well in this community.” Mark Lyonette said: “It’s important that politicians spend time with our members at the coalface so that they get a real taste of the day-to-day challenges. Wes listened carefully to what Nitin and I had to say, and seems to understand that pharmacies are a key part of the NHS frontline, not just a sideshow.” Watch a video message from Wes Streeting to pharmacy teams here:

Pharmacy leaders urge Rishi Sunak to invest in sector

A collective of community pharmacy national representative bodies, together with England’s largest pharmacy chains, have written to the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak. In the joint letter the chief executives of the main pharmacy bodies (including the NPA), along with Boots, LloydsPharmacy, Well and Rowlands Pharmacy, say they are pleased to see Government is now recognising the key role that community pharmacy could have in alleviating the strain on other NHS services. But they warn that although the sector is ready to support the NHS, this will not be possible unless it is properly funded. The letter calls on the Government to help the pharmacy sector resolve the funding, workforce and capacity issues engulfing it. Community pharmacies are in crisis and after seven years of funding cuts have reached their limit, it warns.

Mark Lyonette, chief executive of the NPA, said: “We’ve told the Health Secretary about the great care pharmacies provide, we’ve shown the Chancellor that it’s value for money and now we’re warning the Prime Minister that key services are at risk. They have a shared responsibility to invest in community pharmacies, to make the choice to back us and prevent the sector from spiralling into irreversible decline.

“Once again, we are joining together as pharmacy leaders to make the investment case to ministers, because the Government needs to get the consistent message that everyone in community pharmacy is under intolerable pressure. If they continue to ignore our appeals for fair funding, they will be failing millions of people who rely on pharmacies for accessible healthcare, including many vulnerable older people.”

Understand your pharmacy business better with Local Market Insights

A data service can help NPA members make better decisions for their business by providing detailed analysis of their services compared to other pharmacies. Local Market Insights gives NPA members the opportunity to set and monitor business targets by comparing services and market share with other nearby pharmacies.

NPA members who use the service get a regular report, giving them visibility of what is happening in the local area in relation to prescription item growth, local pharmacies and GP practices participation. It will also help them to monitor the trends in paid services.

NPA members can use these reports to deliver against their KPIs and also identify areas for potential growth. They can see detailed analysis on other local pharmacies, GP practices and services, at a special price of £10 annually. Ishbel Gardner, owner of W. Y. Graham Pharmacy in Glasgow, Scotland, gets detailed reports every quarter and said LMI has been “very helpful” for her business.

“Getting this insight is good and it gives us an idea of what’s going on in our area,” explained Ishbel. “We have a good reputation in the area and we’re looking to expand our services. We’re just a small limited company but in our community we’re trusted by the locals.

“The landscape is changing so much with things like Pharmacy First, and the NPA has been very helpful to us with the guidance. As an owner, these reports from LMI give me access to useful information that I previously wouldn’t have known. It also gives our superintendent pharmacist the bigger picture,” she said.

“We’re in the middle of a housing estate, a prime area, and maybe two minutes away from a health centre. Our competition is slightly further away. “The Local Market Insight report helps us be as competitive as we can and we’re now looking at other different services we can provide.”

How your pharmacy can help patients with MSK conditions

Community pharmacies can now help patients who suffer from back aches and pains by referring them to a leading online physiotherapy service. PhysioFast Online, which often has same day appointments, provides personalised physiotherapy advice and support via a video link to any pharmacy customer who is struggling with injury, aches or pain.

Katie Knapton, a physiotherapist and founder of PFO, said: “We know that getting the right advice quickly reduces long term suffering. The ease of accessing our service means that we can advise people earlier, often reducing the need for ongoing treatment.

“People who attend our online appointments, even if initially sceptical, rate them highly and we have a lot of repeat business.”

Members of the National Pharmacy Association can register to use the PhysioFast Online service for free. When a patient comes to the pharmacy complaining of any musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions, NPA members will receive a unique pharmacy code to pass to the patient.

On all appointments booked using the code, the NPA member will receive a 4 per cent commission. Over 20 million people in the UK - almost one third of the population - have a MSK condition such as arthritis or back pain, according to the NHS.

Katie said “it makes sense” for PhysioFast Online to work closely with the NPA, “as pharmacies know who in their communities may benefit from input, advice and further information and support for any MSK issues.”

“Our team of expert clinicians have been trained to provide a skilled assessment, diagnosis and treatment in an online setting for all kinds of MSK-related issues, and our patients age range is from 9-90!” explained Katie. She added: “Back pain is probably the most common condition, with knee pain a close second, but we also treat a lot of sports injuries. We have additional dedicated specialist appointments available for long Covid, women’s health, incontinence and neurology."

PhysioFast Online also provides a 24/7 helpdesk, with face-to-face online advice slots available for NPA pharmacists with a qualified physiotherapist for further advice on a patient’s unusual or perhaps complex condition. For further information go to physiofast-online/

Ten tips to address health and safety in your business

As an employer, it’s vital that pharmacy owners address any health and safety issues at work as quickly as possible. Here are some useful tips from employment law experts, WorkNest, to help your business tackle health and safety compliance head on in 2023.

  1. Weigh up the health and safety risks Start by carrying out a risk assessment to identify the risks of someone being harmed in your workplace. Not only is this a legal requirement under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, but it’s the best place to start when it comes to identifying and reducing risks.
  2. Find out what staf think As an employer, you are legally required to consult with your staff on health and safety. But don’t just think of this as a box-ticking exercise. Talking to employees can really help make your workplace safer and more productive. After all, they are the ones who know how things are done, as well as what risks exist in the tasks they undertake. Finding out more about the way your staff work will help you to identify sensible health and safety solutions, and staff may have some good suggestions of their own.
  3. Keep written records Smaller organisations typically don’t need long and complicated health and safety policies, so don’t get too bogged down in paperwork. You should, however, put your health and safety arrangements down on paper – even if it’s very short and simple. Keep a record of all your risk assessments, as well as the health and safety measures you have taken. A written record is important because it will allow you to evidence the steps you’ve taken to protect workers should an incident occur.
  4. Underline health and safety’s importance There’s little point in having a health and safety policy if no one understands it. Make sure everyone knows: • How to carry out their job safely • What needs to be done to minimise the risks. This information could form a health and safety handbook for staff, which effectively translates your policy into the key points for employees. While it’s not a legal requirement to have one, it is a legal requirement to inform, instruct and train your employees on health and safety matters, and a handbook is one way to do this.
  5. Keep a clean and tidy workplace One easy health and safety tip for any business, and a simple way to reduce the risk of incidents, is to keep your workplace in good order. Indeed, slips, trips and falls remain the number one cause of non-fatal injuries at work, accounting for 30 per cent of all cases. As such, the importance of good housekeeping, and making sure to keep your environment is free from clutter, shouldn’t be overlooked.
  6. Maintain equipment and buildings Make sure all your equipment is regularly serviced and that you promptly carry out any necessary repairs. Tip: Create a maintenance timetable to make sure everything, including your premises, remains in good condition. Log all your electrical appliances, including when last tested.
  7. Keep a well stocked first aid box However small your business, it’s important to have a properly stocked first aid box. Have someone monitor its contents to make sure it always contains the necessary first aid items. Depending on your organisation’s size, you may also need to have staff on site with firs aid training. Make sure their first aid qualification is kept up-to-date.
  8. Have regular fir drills While they can be inconvenient, regular fire drills are essential, as they allow new and existing staff to become familiar with your organisation’s emergency procedures, making for quicker, safer evacuations. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. You should carry out drills at least once a year.
  9. Identify vulnerable workers It’s important to be aware of any staff who could be considered vulnerable workers. If any are disabled, pregnant or suffer long-term health problems, it’s a good idea to carry out a specific risk assessment to make sure their health and safety is being properly protected. For example, a pregnant worker shouldn’t be doing any heavy lifting. Very young workers, who don’t have the same skills and experience as older workers, may also need close supervision.
  10. Don’t forget stress When you think of workplace health and safety, you probably think about accident reduction. But employers must also do everything they can to help reduce work-related ill health, the number one cause of which is stress, depression and anxiety. Key steps to managing stress are: • Identifying and monitoring the causes of stress; and • Where possible, taking action to reduce it. NPA’s Health & Safety partners, WorkNest, can help with advice and guidance – call them on 0345 226 8393 for more information.

Medication Safety Officer report Q4 2022

Read the latest medication safety update, presenting the NPA’s analysis of patient safety incidents reported during the fourth quarter of 2022 (Q4) – access the full report here:

Below is a summary of key findings from analysis of patient safety incidents reported during Q4 2022;

• Overall, there was a 16 per cent increase in the number of incidents reported during Q4 2022, compared to Q3 2022.

• 95 per cent of incidents reported originated from the pharmacy

• 2 per cent of errors reported were both pharmacy and prescribing errors

• The most common type of incident reported was ‘dispensing error’, which accounted for 79 per cent of all reported incidents • Delivery/collection errors accounted for 12 per cent of the incidents reported; which is a 2 per cent decrease compared to Q3 2022

• The main categories of errors reported were those involving medication errors such as wrong drug/medicine, strength or formulation. These accounted for 62 per cent of errors reported – a 2 per cent decrease from Q3 2022

• The degree of harm caused to patients reported as ‘none’ (61 per cent) and ‘near miss’ (23 per cent) continues to make up the majority of the reports.

• 6 per cent of incidents involved self-checking

• The main contributing factors continue to be ‘work and environment factors’ (51 per cent) and LASA (13 per cent).

• 5 per cent of all reported LASA errors involved gabapentin and pregabalin.

Contact the NPA Medication Safety Officer (MSO)

NPA members

Independent community pharmacies in England which are NPA members can contact the NPA MSO through the Pharmacy Advice and Support Team at the NPA for further information, advice and/or support by email:


Independent pharmacies in England with fewer than 50 branches who are currently not members of the NPA can contact the MSO by email at:

• Include your pharmacy name, ODS code, name of the owner/superintendent pharmacist and telephone/mobile number, and pharmacy’s NHSmail email address.

• State ‘Non-member MSO query’ in the subject field.

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NPA Essential