CCA and AIM launch audit on non-supply of self-care products to patients

Date: 27 November 2019

The CCA and AIM are encouraging community pharmacies of all sizes to take part in a practice-based audit on the non-supply of products to patients seeking self-care.

The audit, which is available via the links below, will investigate the reasons for the non-supply of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that a patient has requested. Community pharmacy teams are encouraged to take part in the audit over any week between 27 November 2019 and 31 March 2020.

Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive of the CCA, said: “People might be surprised to know how often community pharmacy teams only give advice to customers, but do not supply the over-the-counter product that was requested. The results of a previous audit found that over a one-week period, pharmacies recorded more than 100,000 instances where pharmacy teams used their professional judgement and clinical expertise to give advice and chose not to provide a requested OTC product to a patient or customer.”

Leyla Hannbeck, Chief Executive of AIM, said: “ This audit is an opportunity to gather information about how often pharmacy teams act to improve patient care and safety by giving tailored advice, instead of providing the OTC product that the patient requests.

The audit will also help us evaluate how often community pharmacy teams have concerns about the use or misuse of medicines, and their role in stopping unnecessary and incorrect use of medicines.”

There are several reasons why a patient may leave a pharmacy without the product that they requested. Pharmacy teams can provide advice about other ways for the patient to self-treat minor ailments or the pharmacist may refer a patient to another healthcare professional if the patient’s illness is more serious.

Resources for the audit, including guidance and a form to record your data, are available via the links below. A similar audit was conducted by CCA pharmacies in 2015/16. The two sets of results will be compared to establish if there have been any changes in the provision of self-care advice and reasons for pharmacy teams not supplying OTC medicines.

Practice-based audit: how to participate

Each year pharmacy contractors must perform a practice-based audit as part of the contractual requirements of the NHS Pharmacy Contract.  Practice-based audits can be used to gain data about what is happening in the pharmacy as a prompt for working with other healthcare professionals to improve safety, quality and the whole patient experience.

Resources for the audit include a two-page guidance document, which includes instructions for pharmacy teams, and data collection sheets. 

In order to collect data as part of the audit, a ‘tally sheet’ and ‘summary sheet’ have been drawn up and these are now available to download in two different formats (Microsoft Word format or Microsoft Excel format).

Following completion of the audit, pharmacy teams should submit their data online using this online survey. Individual companies should decide how they would like their pharmacy team(s) to participate in the audit and how they would like them to share their data with the CCA.

For larger companies, it is likely that branches will collect data and then share this with a specified Company Lead who will collate all of the responses into one ‘summary sheet’ and submit it via the online survey. Alternatively, ‘summary sheets’ can come in directly from individual branches if that is what a company would prefer their pharmacy teams to do.

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