NPA Essential: October 2023
This month’s key notes
Transition to Reportsmart incident reporting platform
NPA members in England are reminded that the incident reporting platform (IRP) was due to close on September 30 with the transition to the Reportsmart platform.
Approved by NHS England (NHSE), ReportSmart provides improvements in patient safety incident reporting and integration of reporting with NHSE’s Learning From Patient Safety Events (LFPSE) system, which was set to replace the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) fully in September, just before this edition of NPA Essential went to press.
Whilst this covers reporting on a national level to LFPSE, the internal dispensing incident reporting feature will remain as part of the full version of the ReportSmart package. Although the current NPA IRP platform is being closed, all incidents previously reported on the NPA platform will be backed up and retained. ReportSmart is now live, so NPA members in England are asked to select ‘create account’ and begin to use the new platform.
This can be done by visiting www.pharmsmart. co.uk/report-smart.php For comprehensive information, visit www.npa.co.uk/ services-and-support/patientsafety. The current platforms available from the NPA for pharmacies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland remain unchanged at the present time.
CPPE Newly Qualified Pharmacist Programme open for registration
The Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) and NHS England (NHSE) Newly Qualifie Pharmacist Programme is now open for registrations.
This 12-month programme, which starts on 6 November and is fully funded by NHSE as part of its Newly Qualified Pharmacist pathway, aims to link the initial education and training reforms to a continuum of development into post-registration.
The pathway is intended to help pharmacists make the transition to more independent learning and acts as a stepping stone towards enhanced and advanced practice.
Who can apply for the programme
Pharmacists who registered with the GPhC since 2021* who are employed or locuming in community pharmacy (except Boots), community health services, health and justice, integrated care boards, general practice** or care homes**.
• Applications close on 30 October 2023 • The programme will begin on 6 November 2023
• Another cohort will open for applications in January 2024, with a start date of March 2024.
For more information, visit: www.cppe.ac.uk/career/nqp
* Pharmacists who registered before 2021 who are returning from a career break are also eligible to apply.
** Pharmacists working in general practice or care home in posts which are funded via the primary care network additional roles reimbursement scheme are not eligible to apply for the CPPE Newly Qualified Pharmacist Programme as they are required to enrol on the Primary Care Pharmacy Education Pathway.
New educational supervision training
A new programme from NHS England is providing 500 places for Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPPs) and 500 places for other educational supervisors, including Designated Supervisors.
This training, which is being delivered by ProPharmace, will ensure those involved in educational supervision are confident to provide support and developmental aid to the community pharmacy workforce. It will be delivered flexibly to accommodate work schedules and will allow learners to develop their skills and knowledge about delivering educational supervision whilst keeping patient safety and person-centred care at the forefront.
Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians wishing to supervise colleagues in community pharmacies can apply for the educational supervision training. Regulatory changes made in 2019 mean that experienced independent prescribers of any profession can apply for DPP training to support community pharmacists to become independent prescribers.
Sign up via the ProPharmace website at www.propharmace.com/est/ and for more information about NHS-funded training for community pharmacy professionals, visit www.hee.ns.uk and see the ‘Our Work’ section.
Change to process for claiming the Foundation trainee pharmacist grant
Pharmacy owners in England are reminded that changes have been made to the process for claiming the Foundation trainee pharmacist grant. Under the new system, which has recently been launched, an electronic registration process via a new module for foundation training grant submissions on the NHSBSA’s Manage Your Service (MYS) portal will be used. Pharmacy contractors will receive payment in arrears; the first payment will cover any months between the time the application for the grant is made and the time the trainee begins their training. As part of the process, pharmacy owners will need to register on MYS each foundation trainee pharmacist required to claim a grant for, including the following details:
• Trainee’s name
• Trainee’s date of birth
• Trainee’s GPhC registration number
• Trainee’s training start date
• The designated supervisor’s name
• The designated supervisor’s GPhC registration number.
More information is available via www.npa.co.uk (see the Information and Guidance section). Owners are asked not to send any training grant applications via email to ICBs because applications have been actioned via the MYS portal from mid-September.
Any questions on the process can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and technical questions regarding the MYS portal can be emailed to email@example.com. Further information is also available via:
NPA announces new Chief Executive
The National Pharmacy Association has announced the appointment of Paul Rees MBE as its new Chief Executive, from 27 November. Paul is currently Chief Executive of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Mark Lyonette, who is retiring, will remain at the NPA for some weeks after Paul’s arrival in order to ensure a smooth handover.
“We are looking forward to welcoming Paul to the NPA, after a rigorous recruitment process identified him as an excellent fit for our organisation,” NPA chair Nick Kaye said.
“At the Royal College of Psychiatrists and throughout his career, he has made a significant impact and effecte tangible change in healthcare and society. I would like to take this opportunity once again to thank Mark for his great work as chief exec since 2018. He still has plenty of work to do at the NPA before his well-earned retirement.”
NPA briefs Covid public inquiry on community pharmacy vaccine role
The community pharmacy sector should be included from the outset in all local planning meetings around the implementation of vaccine services in future pandemics, including supply and resourcing discussions, lawyers representing the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) told the latest Covid-19 public inquiry hearing.
Addressing the hearing on September 13, the NPA also outlined the three key areas it believes must be improved in future pandemic vaccination programmes. These include properly utilising existing primary care expertise, better planning and engagement and improved access to information for community pharmacists.
“Community pharmacies played a core role in maintaining access to healthcare services during the pandemic, despite immense pressures, and they were instrumental in the successful delivery of the Covid-19 vaccination programme,” Brian Stanton of Innovo Law, and representing the NPA, said.
“According to figures from NHS England and NHS Improvement, by January 14, 2022, community pharmacy had delivered well over 22 million vaccinations.
“Community pharmacists have strong, trusting relationships in local communities and were able to engage with patients to discuss their concerns and to debunk myths. Because community pharmacies are more heavily concentrated in deprived areas, this type of engagement helped to tackle vaccine inequalities.
“As early as the summer of 2020, the NPA highlighted to government ministers, policymakers and Public Health England the key potential role of community pharmacy in the administration of the vaccination service, having already had success and experience in the delivery of the flu vaccination for over 20 years. However, despite this potential and existing expertise and experience, government engagement with community pharmacy in the initial planning of the programme in Autumn 2020 was limited and it was only later in the programme (from Spring 2021) that the community pharmacy network was able to participate more fully.
“The NPA and the community pharmacy sector is keen to ensure that lessons are learned from the vaccination rollout programme.”
The NPA also called for the administrative burden of participation in NHS vaccination schemes to be addressed. The NHS booking system and ensuring a more coherent supply of vaccines were also highlighted as areas for improvement.
The inquiry is examining all aspects of how the pandemic response across the UK. The NPA has been approved as a ‘core participant‘ in Module 4 (vaccines) of the inquiry, which is considering various issues around the development of vaccines and vaccine rollout, and Module 3 (healthcare).
“Although the benefits of taking part may take months or even years to filter through, I see this as a historic opportunity to place on record the achievements of community pharmacy during the pandemic,” NPA chair Nick Kaye said. “I’m determined that community pharmacy’s life-saving contribution will not be forgotten by future generations.
“More tangibly, it is also to ensure that the inquiry’s recommendations are based in the practical realities faced by health workers including pharmacy teams. We want this process to result in action that will better equip the health service to be resilient against, and responsive to, future public health crises.”
Chaired by Baroness Heather Hallett, the independent public inquiry is examining the UK’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and lessons for the future. The hearing can be viewed via the Covid-19 inquiry website: www.covid19.public-inquiry.uk
Ask Your Pharmacist Week
There is still time to get involved in this year’s Ask Your Pharmacist Week, the NPA’s flagship event aimed at raising awareness of pharmacy services.
This year’s event, which runs from October 30-November 6 and also aims to prompt conversations with stakeholders at a local level about community pharmacy’s roles and benefits, has the theme of ‘Meet Your Local Pharmacy Team’.
Activities range from window posters and social media to projects with patient groups and visits to pharmacies from local dignitaries and politicians.
“AYP Week 2023 will familiarise people with the skills of the pharmacist and the wider community pharmacy workforce, and how the team works together to provide a safe and effectiv service, including NHS clinical care,” NPA head of communications Stephen Fishwick explained.
“As usual, the NPA will supply campaign materials for our members and others wanting to take part in this long running initiative.”
Any NPA member or pharmacy stakeholder wishing to get involved should contact Stephen Fishwick at firstname.lastname@example.org
Helping community pharmacies to improve efficiency
The NPA has again shown its commitment to helping community pharmacies improve efficiency by further strengthening its partnership with the innovative Charac app. The Association has invested more than £0.5 million, by way of a loan, in the NHS-integrated app, which enables pharmacies to save time and easily digitise their services.
Charac aims to lessen independent community pharmacies’ operational burdens by improving efficiency and simplifying duties. It allows pharmacies to manage prescriptions as well as create bookings, conduct consultations and organise delivery of medication via the Royal Mail.
NPA director of membership Simon Tebbutt said the investment emphasised the association’s support for innovation in the independent community pharmacy sector.
“Our aim is to help independents with their digital interface with patients,” he said. “Together, the NPA, pharmacy owners and Charac will ensure that independent pharmacies can meet modern consumer expectations and adapt to the ever-evolving environment.
“Those pharmacies that can deploy innovative tech to release capacity and deliver clinical services will put themselves in a stronger position to withstand the sector’s intense workforce and financial pressures.”
Charac can be used by all NPA members. However, services vary depending on which country the pharmacy is located in. More than 400 pharmacies have signed up to the app since launch, with that number forecast to reach 2,000 by 2024.
NPA continues to support members with vaccines rollout
The NPA is continuing to support members with arrangements for the rollout of this year’s Covid and flu vaccination programmes after the rollout of both programmes was brought forward.
The Department of Health and Social Care announced that the rollout programme would start on September 11, reversing an earlier decision to move the flu vaccination to October to align with Covid vaccinations.
To support members providing vaccination services visit the NPA flu and Covid hubs for more information, visit www.npa.co.uk.
NPA responds to think-tanks’ vision for community pharmacy in England
The NPA has responded to the recent release of A Vision for Community Pharmacy, which outlined a vision for the future of community pharmacy. Commissioned by Community Pharmacy England and compiled by The Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund, the report explained some of the current challenges and pressures facing community pharmacies and what changes could be made to ensure a viable future for the sector.
“We congratulate the King’s Fund, Nuffield Trust and Community Pharmacy England on creating a thorough report that will resonate with most pharmacy contractors and stakeholders,” NPA chief executive Mark Lyonette said. “This is an important unifying vision for the future of community pharmacy in England.
“We agree with its basic premise that integrated clinical and public health services should be further developed whilst also maintaining a core role in the medicines supply chain.
“This is a significant piece of work that gives everyone a useful steer for long-term planning, but there is also an immediate need for investment to stabilise the sector and give it a chance to develop as the report envisages.
“We regard this report as a starting point, not the limit, of what community pharmacy can achieve for patients and the NHS. With the expansion of independent prescribing in community pharmacy and the growing burden of long-term conditions, there is an opportunity for community pharmacy practice to develop much further in the years ahead.
“The authors’ aim that the ambitions set out should be achievable by most contractors is right in principle, so long as there is space and support for those wanting to push the boundaries of clinical practice.
“Innovation will need to be driven through local integrated care systems, not only the national contractual framework. For the most part, this report is consistent with changes proposed by the NPA in our own recent prospectus, and also by the CCA and RPS. This broad consensus can only be helpful, as we will all be pulling in the same direction.
“The NPA will continue to work with CPE and other pharmacy leaders to help pharmacies get through the current malaise and achieve the kind of transformation that is necessary for medium- and long-term sustainability,” Mr Lyonette concluded. The report can be read via www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk
Why you should consider an apprentice in your pharmacy
The NPA has partnered with apprenticeship training provider Skills 4 Pharmacy to help initiate and develop the careers of pharmacy support staf and technicians. They also manage the recruitment of apprentices, as well as their enrolment and training.
What courses are available?
Level 2 Apprenticeship – Pharmacy support worker: a GPhC-accredited training course that lasts 12 months plus three months for end point assessment. This is perfect if you need a skilled member of staff to work on the medicines counter and in the dispensary.
Level 3 Apprenticeship – Pharmacy technician: learners will be enrolled on the Level 3 Diploma in the Principles and Practice for Pharmacy Technicians, which meets the GPhC education requirement to register as a pharmacy technician. The course duration is 24 months plus three months for end point assessment.
This is a fantastic opportunity to change your working model and give a member of the team more responsibility, or if you need support with accuracy checking, as students will become a qualified accuracy checking technician (ACT) as part of this course.
What’s in it for you?
• You can upskill a current member of staff with minimal cost – this not only increases productivity but provides them with developmental opportunities and increases the likelihood of them staying with your pharmacy.
• Managed recruitment and shortlisting by Skills 4 Pharmacy, if required.
• Fully funded tuition and assessment for the apprenticeship either via the apprenticeship levy or a levy donor (partly funded if non-levy).
• A dedicated point of contact and support throughout the whole apprenticeship by a trusted and experienced pharmacy apprenticeship training provider.
• Your apprentice becomes highly skilled even before they finish their course and you can train them in a way to suit the ever changing needs of your pharmacy.
• Plus you may be eligible for: £1,000 per apprentice in cash incentives from the Government if the apprentice is under 19 years old, or no employer’s national insurance liability for any apprentice up to the age of 25 earning less than £50k pa.
Louise Baglole, director of professional services and development, said: “We have had over 90 Level 2 and 3 apprentices start their learning programmes so far in 2023, which shows that the apprenticeships with Skills 4 Pharmacy have proved popular with our members.”
The experience of NPA member Horton Pharmacy proved to be very beneficia for both pharmacy and apprentice. Their apprentice, Katie, is now studying a pharmacy degree at university – read more at www.inpharmacy.co.uk/learning-and-development/npa-members-apprentice-acquires-skills-life-community-pharmacy-success-story
For more information on apprenticeships and to download the Skills 4 Pharmacy brochure, which includes course costs, and to find out how to apply, visit www.npa.co.uk/apprenticeships/pharmacylevels-2-and-3
Get support for accessing the National Care Records Service
Support is available for accessing and using a national record-keeping service aimed at providing access to patient information. The National Care Records Service (NCRS) is the improved successor to the Summary Care Record applications (SCRa) portal. All users and organisations were due to switch from the SCRa by September 29.
NCRS is a service that allows health and care professionals to access and update a range of patient and safeguarding information across regional Integrated Care Services (ICS) boundaries. It enables any authorised clinician, care worker and/or administrator, in any health or care setting, to access a patient’s information to support that patient’s direct care.
Built on a new authentication platform that offers greater support for internet connectivity and additional user authentication methods, NCRS also offer multiple access options such as biometric authentication and smartcards. It is available in clinical, office or mobile environments over the internet, as well as the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN).
The web-based application service also offers information on areas including Personal Demographics Service, the National Record Locator, locally held care plans and Reasonable Adjustments Flag and Child Protection – Information Sharing service (CP-IS). To use NCRS, a user requires an NHS Care Identity Service authenticator, which can include existing smartcards, and a relevant role for authentication.
The service is available on mobile or desktop devices connected to the internet using WiFi, mobile data or an existing Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) connection.
Full information is available via the NHS Digital site via www.digital.nhs.uk
Support is also available on the NPA site at www.npa.co.uk/information-and-guidance/knowledge-article-national-care-records-service-ncrs-england/