- 4.1 - The pharmacy services provided are accessible to patients and the public
Why this is notable practice
The pharmacy is pro-active in identifying specific areas within the local community which have low rates of uptake of COVID-19 vaccinations. It does this by reviewing published data to inform its discussions with the local authority. And to help plan where vaccination pop-up sites are most needed.
How the pharmacy did this
The pharmacy had established good working relationships with the local authority. It did this through providing pop-up COVID-19 vaccination sites within the community. And people did not need to book an appointment to access this service. The clinical lead pharmacist for the service had identified that some pop-up sites operated in areas which had relatively high vaccination uptake rates. This had prompted the pharmacist to investigate vaccination rates in each area of the local authority by age cohort. This data had found some areas had a vaccine uptake of less than 50% in the 30-34-year-old age group and had an even lower uptake for younger cohorts. The pharmacist had produced a table of this data which clearly highlighted the areas where vaccine uptake was at its lowest. The project considered other factors such as social deprivation, the distance to current vaccination centres and the barriers to accessing centres, such as reliance on public transport.
The pharmacy shared this information with the local authority and highlighted the benefit of moving the service to communities where uptake rates were low. As a result of sharing the data the local authority worked with the pharmacy to identify suitable locations for pop-up sites. The sites included some local community centres and other places where people often got together. For example, one upcoming site was a local mosque.
The pharmacy had completed a pop-up/roving risk assessment template which it submitted to the local NHS England team. The clinical lead completed an assurance visit to each site with a representative from the local authority prior to its approval. The assurance visit included a walk-through of the patient journey and ensured there was enough suitable space for preparing vaccines and enough space for managing two queues, two distinct pod areas for both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccine, and a waiting area and post-vaccination observation area. The pharmacy had carefully considered storage requirements for the vaccines whilst in transit and at the sites. And it had strict monitoring processes in place for the storage and handling of the vaccine.
Following each successful assurance visit the local authority began to advertise the service. This ensured as many people as possible in the local community were aware of the service. And the pharmacy kept the site open until 19:00 to ensure people who worked office hours could attend after work. Team members from the pharmacy’s static vaccination centre worked at the pop-up sites. And had received full training on how to manage walk-in appointments. This included safety checks associated with identification, eligibility and details of any first doses already given.
What difference this made to patients
The pharmacy is supporting people to become vaccinated by making access to the COVID-19 vaccination programme easier. It is doing this by bringing the service directly to the communities in which they live. And by offering a walk-in service. By doing this it has removed some of the barriers for people who want to become vaccinated.
We have identified the standards most likely and least likely to be met in inspections, and highlighted examples of notable practice for each of these standards; to help everyone learn from others and to support continuous improvement: