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Are pharmacists seeing too many sticks and not enough carrots?

Have you ever volunteered for something then wish you hadn’t?

Many of our country’s pharmacists must feel like that today, and taking an aspirin is not going to fix the pain they are feeling! When the Carter report in 2016 identified that Pharmacists could take a more central role in healthcare, optimising and improving medicine management to save the NHS money, the regulatory bodies have pulled out their biggest sticks and have started to wave them around.

The General Pharmaceutical Council, seeking to become more relevant, will soon be sharing their inspection reports in the public domain. Guarded ratings such as “adequate” or “satisfactory” surely negate the hard-working pharmacists’ efforts and crush morale in building and maintaining a business in difficult times.

And increasingly, with Pharmacist’s skills embedded into the GP surgery, the CQC is ready in the wings, with a similar, subtly different, set of needs and requirements for the poor pharmacist to manage. These stresses are keeping them awake at night and will not go away by ignoring them.

Leadership skills are now required to support pharmacists, nursing and front-line staff on the importance of correct medicine management and storage, to ensure that compliance is met at all times.

Within the large acute care sector, the MHRA and other government regulatory bodies and CQC all need to be placated. Coupled with an increasing workload, growing needs for mental health in the community, it’s no wonder today the modern pharmacist needs a joined up technological solution to help manage all this.

Professional associations – it’s time to provide leadership

According to the General Pharmaceutical Council, one of the challenges in future will be how we support a system-wide approach to medicines optimisation – putting governance frameworks in place and supporting local pharmacy leaders to help people and the NHS get the most health benefit and the best value from medicines.

So why will they not give advice or guidance on technology solutions?

If I were an independent pharmacist seeking to improve my service with robotic dispensing solution, there is no advice available from my membership body. If a pharmacist needs a modern, technical, joined-up solution across multiple sites for the monitoring of the storage of medicines, diagnostic kits and insulin, where can they go for advice? So why is it when a provider approaches these bodies, we hear the same old excuse. “We can’t be seen to endorse you- old chap!”

Refusing to engage with tech experts?

It’s incredible in a world driven by new and exciting technology, that our professional associations (representing thousands of members who are seeking help with modern solutions) stand back and refuse to engage with technology companies. “We can’t be seen to endorse you”… says one employee.

The reality is that technology companies are not seeking endorsement, we are simply asking that solutions be brought to the fore, and examined on their merits. In Europe and the USA, the “industry” is not hung up on outdated principles that reflect a bye gone age of the old boys’ club.

In these territories, they engage fully to explore working solutions, examine technology in order to provide guidance and leadership on the potential advantages for their members.

Do we need another scandal to drive change?

Whether its blood, insulin, vaccines or other temperature sensitive assets that’s stored, it’s in everyone’s interest to ensure the very best methods, facilities and technology are deployed to ensure every patient receives their medicines at their optimum condition, to ensure the very best health outcomes.

The media regularly expose scandals within our healthcare systems and they rightly cause outrage and concern, so let’s not let this happen again with regard to medicine management.

Inspections should be the last resort to preventing poor practice, what is needed – urgently – is an atmosphere of seeking the best practice, support guidance and of course leadership.

Compliant data & temperature monitoring – a fully managed auditable service

Tutela is the world’s largest independent healthcare and life science data and temperature monitoring system. Our insights platform for critical process control of temperature sensitive biological inventory and products seeks to protect you and your stock.

Tutela have supplied 1000’s of systems to the NHS, Biotech and Pharmaceutical industries as well as research facilities such as the APHA (Defra).

Our technology can remotely monitor every fridge or freezer door, temperature, ambient and humidity. In every room, ward, department, hospital or remote clinic all under one account. Protected, secure with full reporting and action audit trail.

Our goals are simple

With clear leadership and independent monitoring of the healthcare and medicine management activity, together Tutela aim to partner and Improve health outcomes, protect reputations and support the pharmacist and his team.

We protect your business or organisation from catastrophic loss and damage which cannot be recovered and provide auditable data for future trending and preventable loss.

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