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A standard fit for gran

The friends and family test. You’ve heard people talk about it — the one where you ask: “Would I be happy for granny to be treated this way?”

It’s a reasonable question. Friends and family of people at the receiving end of shoddy care at Mid Staffs in the mid-to-late noughties would have known it was unsatisfactory, but that didn’t stop their concerns going unheard and the neglect continuing for many years. One has to wonder how many members of staff at the trust had used the FFT. Whether or not they had, at senior management and board level something was clearly missing.

Indeed, even the Healthcare Commission (now Care Quality Commission) appeared to lack the initiative, insight, systems, clout (circle as appropriate) to recognise and act on the situation. Am I suggesting the NHS watchdog ought to have used the FFT? Well, it might have done. But it is hardly a suitable regulatory tool: what’s good for one person’s nan might be terrible for another’s.

Equipped with lessons from the Francis report and, latterly, the Berwick report, now is the time for pharmacy professionals to scrutinise what they do and consider whether it is any good.

This is why the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s work on professional standards is so important and certainly timely. Its growing suite of standards provide a description of what good services ought to look like — they are supportive, enabling and professionally challenging.

There are the RPS professional standards for hospital pharmacy services, which Clinical Pharmacist has followed closely (News feature). Homecare standards were launched at the RPS conference last month (Update) and public health is the focus of another set of professional standards currently under consultation (closing date 11 October). And community pharmacy standards are expected to be tackled by the RPS, in collaboration with the profession, next year.

With a quality systems resource due from the RPS early in 2014, the profession will have the tools it needs to ensure that quality is embedded in everything it does for patients. For gran.

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist DOI: 10.1211/CP.2013.11127237

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