Scenario: Delivery drivers
Parveen is talking to Katherine, her dispensing assistant, about her husband standing in as a delivery driver while the regular driver is off...
“Jim has been kicking his heels a bit since he retired earlier this year, so I think he fancies having something to do,” says Katherine.
“Ok, get him to give me a call and I’ll have a chat with him about it,” says Parveen.
“Is that necessary?” asks Katherine. “You know him and it’s just driving around making deliveries. Not exactly hard, is it?”
Under Principle 2 of the General Pharmaceutical Council’s Standards for Registered Pharmacies, pharmacy owners are expected to ensure that “staff are empowered and competent to safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of patients and the public”.
This means there should be enough staff in place, all with the appropriate skills, qualifications and competence for their role, regardless of whether they are registered or unregistered. There is an exemption for the latter and for those who are working under supervision while training, but this will not usually apply to a delivery driver as they tend to work alone.
If Parveen decides to take on Jim, she must satisfy herself that he understands what he needs to do, including if something goes wrong, such as a patient not being at home when he attempts to make a delivery.
This may involve some form of induction training about dispensed medicines, for example, checking the right medicine reaches the right person, and perhaps going out with him the first time he makes his rounds.
Parveen must also ensure that Jim feels able to provide feedback and raise any concerns he might have about the work he is asked to do, and not put pressure on him that compromises the quality of the service he provides. For example, by saying that all deliveries need to be made by a certain time regardless of the traffic or weather conditions.
The bigger picture
GPhC guidance has been designed to help all staff meet the principles described in the Standards in order to create and maintain an environment – both organisational and physical – that means pharmacy services can be delivered safely and effectively.
It is easy to overlook unregistered, temporary and/ or occasional staff in such matters, but given that these individuals are very likely to be the first encountered by customers or patients – or in the case of delivery drivers and housebound patients, perhaps the only contact they have with the pharmacy – the importance of training cannot be emphasised enough.
During inspections, GPhC staff will request evidence that the guidance is being followed and professional standards are being met.
Extend your learning
• Are your staff all up-to-date with training? Do you have documentary evidence of any qualifications they have attained and courses attended, and a map of their skills and knowledge?