Professional Standards – committing to change and improvement

By Suzanne Scott-Thomas, Chair of RPS in Wales

Professional standards are central to improving practice, creating a more responsive service for our patients and increasing efficiencies.

Part two of this blog on the value of professional standards highlights another example of how using the RPS Hospital Pharmacy Standards has helped reshape a service, along with tips on creating change and improvement.

In my organisation we took a look at our patient discharge process realised it needed to change. The Hospital Standard: When care is transferred to another setting, patients are referred or signposted to appropriate follow-up or support, helped us improve the discharge process.

Outcomes included action being taken to implement ‘MTeD’, the electronic discharge advice letter system to electronically transfer information to GPs, as well as connect to the ‘Choose Pharmacy’ system in community pharmacies. This means that when patients are discharged, we can make certain that patients are appropriately receiving Discharge MURS. In this way, we’re handing over pharmaceutical care on discharge in a seamless way. MTeD is currently rolling out across all of the Health Boards in Wales, and we’re pleased to see the numbers of DMURs via the Choose Pharmacy system increasing.

Committing to change and improvement

As with anything in life, we get out what we put in. I would really recommend taking time to appreciate how you can get the best out of professional standards and how this can help you deliver and improve patient care. I would recommend you:

  • Engage – be a part of the process of developing the standards
  • Influence – what should the standards be? what would good look like in your organisation?
  • Own – we must think of them as our standards, not as being imposed on us by others
  • Understand – what do they mean for your service & your patients?
  • Use and apply them – in service re-design & service improvement, in business cases, in PDRs
  • Use them again – maintaining professional standards is a continuous process, with ever changing needs & expectations
  • Review – are the standards still fit for purpose, is there better practice out there, what might come next? Professional standards need to continue to stretch and challenge.

This all underpins continuous service improvement.

I would encourage all colleagues to commit to professional standards so we can deliver more for patients.

As a Chief Pharmacist in Wales, I have oversight and responsibility for pharmacy services provided in hospital, the community and primary care. Following the experience of putting the hospital standards into practice, I fully welcome the work the RPS is doing to create Professional Standards for Community Pharmacy. This gives us a great opportunity to reflect on the services we provide in the community, shape future services and deliver the high-quality care that patients deserve.

 Get involved

If you’d like to find out more, give your views, or get involved in the development of the important community pharmacy standards, have a look at the community pharmacy professional standards webpage.

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