Improving care with professional standards

by Suzanne Scott-Thomas, Chair of RPS in Wales

As pharmacists, we need to know that the services we provide are effective, safe, and efficient. This way we can make sure patients are getting the care they need and deserve. We also need to know that the services are continuing to meet the requirements of an ever-changing healthcare environment.

Meeting these challenges is part of our daily practice but it is no mean feat. So how do we continue to improve practice, increase efficiencies and create more responsive services for our patients?

In my experience, one answer is in creating and implementing professional standards.

Having professional standards provides us with a framework to test or assess our services against, which helps us to:

  • Know ourselves
  • Benchmark with others
  • Identify the gaps
  • Identify best practice
  • Identify how to deliver the best practice
  • Implement and then review

The Professional Standards framework will identify the way forward for you to improve your services.

Putting standards into practice

In my organisation, we use the RPS Professional Standards for Hospital Services collaboratively, but also individually, with all of us making a self-assessment against each of the standards. This process has allowed us to identify standards that we were not achieving or partially achieving and to implement improvement strategies to reshape services.

We successfully took action to meet the standard of: The views of patients and carers are actively sought to inform the development and delivery of pharmacy services enabling patients to have direct input into the services that they receive.

Implementing and responding to post discharge questionnaires we took action to:

  • Implement a standard uniform for all pharmacy staff in the managed sector in Wales– the green tunic with the pharmacy cross.
  • Issue pharmacy staff with name badges.
  • Developed and updated procedures and training to support medicines counselling by pharmacy staff.

We were really pleased to see that more patients were able to recognise pharmacy staff on the ward if they wanted to talk about their medicines. We continue to survey and respond to patient feedback on an annual basis to continue to improve.

Part two of this blog, to be published next Thursday, will combine another example of how the Standards helped us improve with handy recommendations to help you commit to change and improvement in your sector and practice.

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