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Dispensary safety contributes to outstanding rating for DDA member

Harleston and Morrab Surgeries praised by the CQC

March 12th 2019

Tagged: DDA news Dispensary guidance news CQC

By Ailsa Colquhoun

Clear processes to ensure uncollected medicines were well managed has contributed to an overall outstanding rating for DDA member the Harleston Medical Practice in Harleston, Norfolk. The practice has been rated outstanding for its safety, effectiveness and quality of its leadership.  Inspectors found that processes for reviewing uncollected medicines were embedded into routine checks within the dispensary.  The practice was also applauded for auditing the suitability of medicines for inclusion in monitored dosage systems.

Inspectors also highlighted the practice’s proactive response to the challenges of health service provision in a rural location: due to the risk of delays in patients getting to hospital over the Christmas period, vulnerable patients were given preventative/in case prescriptions for antibiotics and were followed up when the practice reopened. The practice had identified at-risk patients using a National Early Warning Score (NEWS) on 644 patients who had presented with an infection during the past 12 months. Staff, including out of hours staff, were made aware in case the patient contacted them. Prior to the Christmas closure and as part of their winter pressures management of vulnerable patients, the practice telephoned all patients identified at risk (score of three or above) to ensure they were well and gave advice should they develop symptoms.

Inspectors also noted that patients received advice on where to store their medicines, and that the practice’s compliance with medicines policy and procedure was routinely monitored. Where medicines were obtained from sources such as online websites, action was taken to safeguard the patient and other health professionals.

Another DDA member, the Morrab Surgery in Penzance, Cornwall has also been rated outstanding, for its caring and responsiveness, and there is an outstanding rating for  non DDA member Little St John St Surgery in Woodbridge, Suffolk, for responsiveness and quality of its leadership.

DDA member Holbeach Medical Centre, in Spalding, Lincolnshire, has been rated as inadequate. Despite the overall rating, the dispensary was found to meet a range of standards, including having clear Standard Operating Procedures which were also regularly reviewed, staff training and competency checks, risk assessments for acute prescriptions which were dispensed unsigned, medicines storage and systems to ensure correct use of monitored dosage systems.

Improvements to be made include establishing effective systems for the management of repeat prescriptions, medicines reviews and acting on medicines safety alerts.




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