My views on unannounced inspections: ‘A mystery patient would have been a better approach’


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By Rachel Carter
Freelance journalist

13 Mar 2019

In this series, contractors tell us their views on the new General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) inspection model

 

Sultan ‘SID’ Dijani  Superintendent pharmacist at Wainwrights Chemist, Hampshire

‘We’re overwhelmed at the moment and workload stress is at an all-time high because of the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD), Brexit, medicine shortages, cuts – so the changes couldn’t have come at a worse time. We need to make sure all our resources go into patient safety and staff efficiency and anything that takes us away from those two things is bad. The inspections also won’t take into account things like funding cuts or reducing staff numbers.

 

On unannounced visits

 

‘Any GPhC visit, whether it’s announced or unannounced, will hold a contractor to account. But the current system is fine and is more efficient because the regular pharmacist can ensure they are there to answer questions.

‘I appreciate unannounced visits are meant to show a consistent level of service regardless of whether the regular pharmacist is in, but proving that would require a mystery shopper, or patient, for example. Having an unannounced visit, especially in an independent pharmacy where the regular pharmacist is not there, will without a doubt lead to extra work and stress.

‘The problem is that locum pharmacists or other staff will not necessarily know where to find or access certain information, like audits or staff training. So when the regular pharmacist gets back, they will have more work to do by printing and sending off the relevant paperwork.

 

On public inspection reports

 

‘This doesn’t worry me. A good pharmacy doesn’t really have anything to fear. We already do an annual patient questionnaire that gets published and we have people commenting on our services on the NHS website or Google, so it’s out there anyway and it’s just a sign of the times that more information is going to be made public.

 


On the new ratings

 

‘I’m not confident in the system they are talking about. I think the danger is that a pharmacist who hasn’t met just one standard could technically be rated “bad”, just like a pharmacist who has not met a lot of standards. It really does need more shades of rating to determine whether someone is actually good, satisfactory, pretty poor, or really bad. But my main concern is how fair the system is and whether pharmacists will have a right to reply on the rating and appeal the decision. That’s far more important.’

 

As told to Rachel Carter, freelance journalist

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