Al Patel, contractor at Lee Pharmacy in south east London, reports on how his staff have been progressing with the introduction of the Falsified Medicines Directive
To give you a rundown, we are still not live, we are still not starting to decommission products and we’ve still got set-up problems.
We’ve not done any training in the whole week because we’re in the same situation as last week. There’s very little point going through various scenarios and role plays because the team will forget it by the time we’ve actually got our credentials and signed up.
We’ve also had an email from the National Pharmaceutical Association (NPA), who are advising members that most medicines can still be dispensed if an alert comes back from the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) database.
Just a few words to colleagues who are in the same situation – with regards to compliance, although we’re not live yet, as long as colleagues seem to be progressing with FMD onboarding, sign up or downloading the software, then the regulatory bodies will see this as evidence of compliance.
This is reassuring, but [it’s still very stressful] because at the moment there are so many other deadlines still to come. It really is a lot of burden.
‘A lot of time spent on paperwork’
The Quality Payments deadline was last Friday (15 February) but the submission point on the online portal is 1 March, which is also the online pre-registration recruitment deadline for the pre-registration students graduating in July/August 2020.
I’m working towards reaching my 400 medicines use reviews (MUR) by the March deadline as well. We haven’t quite reached our target but we’re trying to recruit more patients to do that.
There’s also the Data Security and Protection toolkit (DSP) deadline on 31 March. This was called Information Governance last year but the name changed and the workload has increased as well. I think the number of pages we have to fill in has doubled.
Because of various deadlines, contractors may have forgotten about this one but if it’s not completed, you run the risk of being red-flagged by the NHS.
There seems to be a lot of time spent on paperwork rather than actually serving customers and providing a pharmaceutical service. We’re constantly chasing people up and spending a long time on emails and on the phone.
‘I’m working on a business continuity plan’
In light of the current situation, I’m working on a business continuity plan. I’m looking ahead to what we would do when system is up and running if we encountered internet problems or a power cut or flood.
Currently if our power goes down, we have a back-up system of labels, pens and those kinds of things to carry on dispensing if we’re in darkness. However, if the same thing is to happen in six months’ time when we’re supposed to be decommissioning as well, how will we do it?