Patient Safety

In September 2014, Pharmacy Voice committed to NHS England’s Sign up to Safety campaign, and outlined what it is doing to support the role that community pharmacy can play in putting patient safety at the heart of the NHS.

NHS England’s vision is for the NHS to become the safest healthcare system in the world, delivering harm free care for every patient that uses the system. The Sign up to Safety campaign aims to ensure that all healthcare organisations structure their future plans around common goals defined by the campaign.

In its submission, Pharmacy Voice committed to:

  • focus on medicines optimisation through its on-going work streams;
  • continue to engage with public and stakeholder consultations, keeping patient safety at the forefront of all of its responses;
  • feed into the Falsified Medicines Directive work to help prevent the entry of falsified medicines into the legal supply chain;
  • continue to conduct annual practice-based audits which over 11,500 pharmacies can take part in; and,
  • produce practical advice, and discussion / evidence papers to keep pharmacy staff informed and up to date on topics and developments that could impact on patient safety.


Pharmacy Voice has also established a Patient Safety Group of Medication Safety Officers who are passionate about driving the patient safety agenda for community pharmacy and developing practical solutions to issues that pharmacy teams encounter day to day. We have taken an innovative whole-sector approach to patient safety improvements, raised awareness of members’ achievements and will be continuing to develop our programme of activity.

Highlights to date include sharing experience and best practice; hosting a high profile Patient Safety Forum, attended and praised by senior NHS and sector leaders; securing a place for community pharmacy at the centre of national patient safety initiatives; and learning from other industries, such as aviation.

We publish regular Patient Safety Bulletins and in summer 2016 we used our third issue to launch the results of our anonymous survey into incident reporting and safety culture. The survey gave us insight into what patient safety culture and practice looks like across the community pharmacy sector from the perspective of frontline teams. It focused on patient safety incident reporting and learning processes in place within businesses and any barriers to reporting. Community pharmacy teams were invited to share their views anonymously. The results will continue to shape our future patient safety work and lobbying activities.

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