On a mission to ensure SaferCare

Our head of clinical governance and professional standards Victoria Steele talks about patient safety and the importance of safety culture in pharmacy.


With every healthcare profession being put under the proverbial microscope at the moment, community pharmacy is in a position to stand out as a beacon of hope. We have an opportunity to prove the true value of pharmacy, particularly in relation to patient safety, which we know is a key focus for the NHS.

As pharmacists, patient safety is our business and at LloydsPharmacy, it really is at the heart of what we do.

We recognise that there’s a clear link between high clinical standards and improved healthcare outcomes for patients. In the last few years, one of our top priorities has been to embed a safety culture across our network, through our SaferCare programme. So far the results have been positive and our pharmacy teams on the frontline have been passionate about improving the quality of their practice.

SaferCare provides our teams with the tools, the guidance and the insights to help them provide higher quality patient care. Each store has a dedicated SaferCare champion whose responsibility it is to drive the initiative forward. This has really given our teams ownership of their patient safety activity and I believe it’s been crucial to helping us establish a robust safety culture.

A true safety culture is one in which everyone takes responsibility for patient safety, whatever their role in the business. The absolute essential cornerstones of embedding an effective safety culture are openness and accountability. Through SaferCare we encourage our people to share information freely, report on near misses and highlight when things go wrong, so we can put them right, and learn from these incidents together.

The real value in programmes like this one is the communication and collaboration of our teams. We’ve found that by sharing and reporting on any incidents, and then committing time to analysing and learning from them, we’ve been able to reduce errors and enhance our patient care across our pharmacy network.

This is great news for our patients and the people working in pharmacy, but also great news for the entire healthcare landscape. Not only does improved patient care in pharmacy result in reduced costs, less waste and increased free time, but ultimately it serves as a calling card for what pharmacy can do.

A further proof point that community pharmacy is a highly capable, clinically evolving partner to the NHS.