The spread of the novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease it causes is putting unprecedented pressure on healthcare services across the world. Community pharmacy is at the coalface of the pandemic and continues to provide vital frontline healthcare services to the public.
While demands for pharmacy services are increasing, the working conditions for pharmacy staff are becoming more restrictive. Pharmacies up and down the country are experiencing:
- Significant increase in demand for medicines
- Panic-buying of OTC painkillers
- More prescriptions requiring delivery
- Pressure to keep medicines stocked
- In-store social distancing measures
- Abuse by customers
- Changes to opening hours to cope with demand
- The paramount need to protect the health of their staff.
Many community pharmacies are trying to recruit more support staff. Staff increases should help meet this increased demand and provide cover for existing staff who may be approaching burnout.
With the pandemic and social distancing measures likely to be in place for several months, pharmacies need to have competent and well-trained staff in place as quickly as possible.
What is the GPhC doing to help recruit enough staff?
A number of measures are in place to help both reduce the workload for existing pharmacy staff plus increase the numbers of qualified and trained pharmacy key workers available:
- The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has given temporary registration to over 6000 former pharmacy professionals allowing them to return to dispensaries and counters.
- Revalidation submissions for 2020 have been postponed until 2021.
- Pre-registration assessments have been delayed.
The GPhC has also provided extensive advice on how to protect your pharmacy staff during the COVID-19 crisis. The Pharmaceutical Journal has also provided this excellent article on keeping your community pharmacy running during COVID-19.
But community pharmacies still need more support staff, such as pharmacy assistants or medicine counter assistants, to give their pharmacists and technicians relief from customer-facing roles.
But how can pharmacy train new recruits fast enough?
The current training provision requires pharmacy support staff to be enrolled on a GPhC accredited course within the first three months of employment. So, this does not present a problem for most pharmacies.
However, the average time to complete this course is nine months and requires pharmacist supervision. This means that training isn’t happening fast enough to meet demand. Plus it creates additional workload for the pharmacist.
Under the current emergency, it will not be possible to train support staff fast enough to support the pharmacy team effectively.
Mediapharm can see that the current training system will not sustain pharmacy during this time. Consequently, the pressure on pharmacies to cope is such that some pharmacies may face closure.
Free Fast track pharmacy training from MediaPharm
In response, Mediapharm has created a Fast Track Induction Programme to help new recruits get up to speed before they step into the pharmacy. In other words, the fast track pharmacy training programme will get more trained staff in your pharmacy quicker than ever before.
FREE Fast Track Induction
Mediapharm has launched a free fast-track induction programme that covers the nine core topics. These topics will meet the GPhC’s required learning outcomes for pharmacy support staff.
The programme will enable fast-delivery of pharmacy training. The course will be completable within days instead of months.
And did we mention it’s free?
Facebook Group for Training Support
A Facebook group will be used to help coach new recruits. This will help reduce the amount of time required by pharmacists to mentor their trainees.
The group will likewise include:
- Video tutorials based on course material
- Live weekly training sessions with pharmacy experts
Social Media for SMEs
Subject matter experts share their knowledge on how to support staff can make the most of their training. In addition, how all pharmacy staff can continue to improve their skills. For example, pharmacy marketing skills from Pharmacy Mentor.
Mediapharm will share the content across different platforms including our social media channels to make this content as accessible as possible.
By adopting the hashtag #frontlinepharmacy, MediaPharm will raise awareness of the hard work and importance of pharmacy during the crisis.
We also encourage everyone to use the hashtag including customers sharing their pharmacy hero stories.
Train new support staff in minutes not months
- The fast track pharmacy training induction programme covers nine core topics that meet GPhC core learning outcomes.
- Content is beautifully designed using the latest learning technologies. By moving your pharmacy training online, you free-up your pharmacists.
- Embedded videos increase learner engagement and improve learning outcomes.
MediaPharm is here to help pharmacy during COVID-19
MediaPharm’s goal has always been to support pharmacy teams everywhere with trackable and easy-to-access training courses. And the MediaPharm online platform does just that by providing a real-time solution to training that fits around pharmacy life and GPhC accreditation standards.
The current situation has not changed Mediapharm’s dedication to pharmacy. Instead, Mediapharm has responded by making a free induction training course to help bolster the country’s pharmacy force.
Please – if you’re a struggling pharmacy – take advantage of Mediapharm’s free training. Speak to Paul today to understand how to access the training and start training your staff – fast.
This post was written on behalf of Mediapharm by Nicola Hasted of Pharmacy Mentor.