64% increase in patient safety errors in community pharmacy


The errors made by community pharmacists at work increased by 64% between April 2018 and June 2018 according to figures compiled by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA).

The data also shows that in almost half of the cases (45%), the main reason for the error was attributed to workload and time constraints. Workplace pressures were blamed in only 4% of cases in the previous quarter, according to the NPA.

In its latest Quarterly Patient Safety Report, released on August 15, 2018, The NPA also revealed that the number of error reports it received almost doubled in June 2018 alone compared to the previous two months.

The report also highlighted dispensing errors and breaches of patient privacy following changes to data protection law and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which entered into force. effective May 2018.

He said 8% of incidents reported between April and June 2018 involved privacy breaches.

The cases included dispensing drugs to the wrong patient because they had similar names; package the medications and attach the repeated prescription slip to a bag intended for another patient; and mix up names and addresses on medication labels.

Leyla Hannbeck, director of pharmacy at the NPA, wrote in a cover letter to the drug safety officer report: “It is important to reiterate that pharmacy teams are required to have robust procedures in place to investigate and report data breaches.

She reminded pharmacists that under GDPR some data breaches require pharmacy contractors to notify the Information Commissioner’s Office, the government agency responsible for defending data protection in the public interest. .

Commenting on the 64% increase in patient safety error reports, Hannbeck said, “We are getting more frequent calls to the NPA about delivery errors / patient safety incidents. Sometimes pharmacists just want to ask our advice for reassurance / guidance and when we receive these type of queries we always remind them to use our online platform to report.

“The implementation of the GDPR, which highlights issues with data breaches and associated fines, could also be one of the main factors enabling pharmacy contractors to report all types of incidents. Pharmacy teams also have more knowledge about GDPR through webinars, resources, workshops, which could have prompted more frequent use of our platform. “


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