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CQC recognises good pharmacy leadership in recent inspection report

The Care Quality Commission’s chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards has commended the pharmacy department at Homerton University Hospital, Hackney, in his first report on the services provided at the hospital. The quality report was published online last week (24 April 2014).

The CQC found that “the pharmacy department was well led and there were examples of good clinical leadership”. Projects highlighted as good practice include discharge planning, antibiotic prescribing and auditing, and the department’s involvement in joint working with the London Ambulance Service and the Hackney Clinical Commissioning Groups to introduce “green bags”, so that patients’ own drugs could be brought into hospital and transferred safely between different healthcare settings.

The report also points out that the pharmacy department has implemented new systems to deal with delays in discharge medication and that the pharmacy dispensing target had recently reduced from two hours to one hour and 50 minutes. The CQC heard that to speed up the discharge process, two pharmacists had been nominated to visit wards from Monday to Friday, in the afternoon, to facilitate the prescribing and dispensing of discharge medicine.

The report adds that staff on two of the hospital’s wards “would like access to longer pharmacy working hours so that patients could have more ready access to discharge medicines when they had surgery at the weekend”.

The new CQC inspection model involves significantly larger inspection teams than previously (PJ 2013;291:99). By the end of 2015, CQC will have inspected all acute NHS trusts in the country with its new inspection model. The CQC rated Homerton University hospital as “good” overall with an “outstanding” accident and emergency department. Yesterday (1 May 2014), the CQC recommended that Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust should be placed into special measures (see Panel).

Panel: Illegible signatures found on prescriptions at trust placed in special measures

Illegible signatures on prescriptions have been found to be an issue on surgical inpatient wards at Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, according to the CQC’s report on services provided by the hospital.

The Care Quality Commission’s chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards has recommended that Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust should be placed into special measures. Overall, the inspectors conclude that the quality of care provided by Wexham Park Hospital is inadequate, although the children’s department and critical care unit at the hospital are both providing a good service. Heatherwood Hospital, Ascot, was rated as “good” overall.

In its quality report on Wexham Park Hospital, the CQC says although medicines were stored and administered appropriately on the surgical inpatient wards, a pharmacist had told them that “illegible signatures on drug charts without [doctors] printing their names was a known problem that had been outstanding for some time”. The inability to identify prescribers was a particular problem for the pharmacy team because they could not trace the prescriber when then there was a medication error. This posed a risk that medication errors would be repeated, the report says. The CQC found no plans to address the issue.



Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.11138031

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