National audit- update

Each pharmacy has to take part in a NHS England directed audit. Last year the East Anglia Area Team (AT) agreed with the three LPCS to undertaken an audit of dispensing errors/ and near misses which every contractor completed.

It has been our intention to undertake this audit again this year and from the results evaluate whether the audit intervention had led to any changes to in behaviour. However, as part of the 2014/15 funding settlement, it has been agreed for the first English national audit to be conducted by all community pharmacies. This will now replace the local agreement to re-audit dispensing errors/near misses.

The full details of the national audit have not been announced however the AT and LPCs have agreed to produce this message to give local contractors as much notice as possible of the audit to allow contractors to make plans accordingly. Further information will be distributed as and when it becomes available. We anticipate that this be in the next couple of weeks.

The audit is focussed on the emergency supply of medicines and will take place over two audit stages:

  • Monday 9 March to Sunday 22 March 2015 (inclusive)
  • Monday 23 March to Sunday 5 April 2015 (inclusive)

Two audit dates have been chosen as it has been considered important to try and ensure that the audit provides the best possible evidence of the impact community pharmacy emergency supplies have for patients and the healthcare economy. This will be strengthened further if there is an even split of contractors undertaking the emergency supply audit across the two audit periods.

The PSNC are working with the Company Chemists Association (CCA) whose members are Boots, The Co-operative Pharmacy, Lloydspharmacy, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Wm Morrison Supermarkets, Asda, Rowlands Pharmacy and Superdrug; and The Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp), representing the interests of community pharmacy companies with between 5 and 300 branches, to arrange this even spilt of branches completing the audit.  Pharmacies belonging to companies in these organisations are asked to confirm with their head office in which audit period they are to participate.

Other pharmacies are asked to determine their audit period by using the last figure of their ODS code (F code – the code used when submitting end of month payment claims to the Prescription pricing Division of the BSA at the end of each month). The AT and LPCs have agreed that in East Anglia where the ODS code last figure is:

Odd – audit period 1 – Monday 9 March to Sunday 22 March 2015 (inclusive)

Even – audit period 2 – Monday 23 March to Sunday 5 April 2015 (inclusive)

It is unfortunate that the full information regarding how the audit will be undertaken, recorded and reported is not available. The AT and LPCs have committed to work closely together over the next couple of weeks to get further information to contractors when it becomes available. This will be done via NHS England Gateway messages and information sent out by LPCs and hosted on the LPC websites.

There is also some basic information on the audit on the PSNC website ahead of the publication of final audit paperwork; this is available at PSNC will post links to the final audit paperwork on that page once it is published by NHS England. The PSNC also produce communications as sources of information on this and other issues pertinent to contractors via email newsletters. Contractors can sign up for these newsletters at