Pharmacy Voice audit confirms medicines shortages issues still widespread

Pharmacy Voice’s recent audit of prescription intervention has highlighted that medicines supply and availability issues cause one in five (20.49 per cent) interventions by the community pharmacy team, making it the most common reason for intervention.

In response to this finding, Pharmacy Voice has outlined its commitment to combat medicines shortages. Pharmacy Voice will continue to work closely with the British Generic Manufacturers Association (BGMA), British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (BAPW), Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and others, to contribute to the work of the Department of Health Supply Chain Group on medicines shortages, in order to ensure that a rapid resolution is found for patients and pharmacy teams.

The audit revealed that unsigned prescriptions (18.07 per cent) were the second most common cause of intervention from the pharmacy team, and other common interventions occurred because of queries around the medicine form (7.86 per cent), quantity (6.79 per cent) and brand (6.7 per cent).

Commenting on the findings, Rob Darracott, chief executive of Pharmacy Voice, said: “Audits such as this highlight the positive impact community pharmacy teams have on patient care, but the management of these interventions necessitates more time spent, and considerable pressure for all members of the primary care team.  This means it is essential that steps are taken to reduce the need for interventions. Patient safety is a key priority for Pharmacy Voice and we believe that tackling this will improve safety as well as efficiency. Pharmacy Voice continues to advocate strongly for closer joint working between GPs and pharmacy teams to reduce errors, increase learning, improve the patient journey, drive efficiency and reduce delays to patients safely receiving their medicines.

“Pharmacy Voice’s Patient Safety Group will use the findings from this audit to better understand how community pharmacy teams can improve any of their own procedures to benefit patient care and safety.

“Pharmacy Voice expects that the recently proposed access to SCR will have a positive effect on our next audit results. This is an encouraging first step to what we hope will be full read / write access to patient records, enabling pharmacy teams to give better patient care and help provide a more consistent primary care service to patients.”

Data was collated from 5,198 pharmacies during the audit, which took place over a two week period in September, October or November 2014. The audit included national and regional multiples as well as independents. These pharmacies recorded a total of 113,471 interventions during a two week period.  This suggests an intervention rate of 0.70 per cent, or 7 interventions per 1000 items.

Notes to editors

The full Pharmacy Voice practice based audit report can be found here.