Michelle Rogers, Sales and Marketing Director from Labcold discusses how the correct choice of pharmacy refrigerator assists with regulatory compliance, patient safety and value.
Part of the work of CCG’s is to decide who provides care and how that care is provided. As a result there is a move to more care occurring at home or in a primary care setting. However, this means equipment needs to be procured for the purpose of storing medicines safely and securely.
The correct storage of temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals has always been essential, but with more vaccination programmes plus the need for primary care providers to register with the Care Quality Commission, it seems that in 2013 the correct management of the pharmacy fridge will become even more important.
In the 2012 report, The state of healthcare and adult social care in England 2011/2012, the Care Quality Commission claimed that the ‘management of medicines was the single most common reason for providers across care sectors to fail to meet all the essential standards’ and one of the three main reasons for this was ‘inappropriate storage facilities’ including the ‘lack of provision to store medicines within the correct temperature range’(p53).
When compared to domestic refrigerators, pharmacy fridges are more expensive but they come complete with features designed to help with record keeping and the safe storage of the contents. Calibration certificates proving the temperature displayed on the front, the alarm parameters and minimum and maximum recordings are accurate, confirm the refrigerator is working correctly.
Annual calibration is frequently required by insurance providers, some trusts and for QOF points, but it does make sense to pay a little bit extra to cover the first year of use. Most pharmacy refrigerators contain thousands of pounds worth of stock, so evidence that they are performing correctly can mitigate additional costs.
With additional vaccine programs, CQC inspections and treatment provided in outlying clinics it makes sense to check whether you have adequate pharmaceutical storage for 2013 and the fridges are fit for purpose.
There are pharmacy fridges with free 5 year parts and labour warranties, meaning if you choose wisely, the performance and paperwork associated with your pharmacy fridge should help you through this part of CQC inspections, provide proof of performance for insurance companies, but most importantly, can deliver reliable medicines and vaccination programs to your patients.