THE National Pharmacy Association (NPA) error reporting service was now available for members in Scotland, said chief pharmacist, Leyla Hannbeck, at the organisation’s conference in Glasgow.
Members in Scotland could now report errors anonymously using the patient safety incident report form on the NPA website, and a copy could also be kept in-store to show the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) inspectors that they were creating a safe environment by learning from errors, and managing risk.
In general, however, there were “not many dispensing errors in community pharmacy”; the NPA received around 200 reports every month. Common errors included the wrong drug or medicine, which accounted for 31 per cent of reports, with the wrong or unclear dose or strength accounting for 28 per cent of reports.
“The same drugs keep featuring. Be aware of these drugs that keep popping up,” said Leyla. These included:
- Allopurinol, amiloride, amisulpiride, amitriptyline, amlodipine and atenolol.
- Chlorphenamine, chlorpromazine, clomipramine, clonazepam, and clonidine.
- Pantoprazole, paroxetine, pravastatin, prednisolone, prochlorperazine, and propranolol.
- Ropinirole and risperidone.
Steps needed to be taken to reduce the risk of errors, such as keeping them separated on the shelf, and using signs to make the dispensary team more aware of the potential for these errors.
The top three important factors which contributed to errors were:
- Similar looking or sounding names — 56%.
- Poor transfer/transcription of information between paper and/or electronic forms — 14%.
- Poor labelling and packaging from a commercial manufacturer — 12%.
Work and environmental factors also played a part in 58% of reported errors, such as poor/excess administration, the physical environment, workload, hours of work and time pressures.
Measures which could be taken to improve safety were outlined in the new NPA resource Dispensing process: best practice, which was launched for members in July 2016, however Leyla left the audience with the following advice:
- Remember to supply a patient information leaflet.
- Check the dose of the prescription is suitable for the patient.
- Be empathetic towards the patient and apologise if you have made an error.
- Remember to supply an oral syringe, or spoons for kids doses.
- Follow the protocol when supplying EHC – respect patient confidentiality.
- If you get a letter or complaint, notify the NPA who can provide advice and support.