How long can your community pharmacy operate without electricity or other utilities?

28 Sep 2018

Are you and your pharmacy prepared in the event of a power failure?

Community pharmacies are required to have documented plans and procedures to support business continuity in the event of power failures, system failures, natural disasters and other disruptions as part of their Information Governance (IG) toolkit (soon to be the Data Security and Protection toolkit).

Signing up for the Priority Services Register goes some way towards this as this gets you extra support from your utility suppliers.

Priority Services Register is run by UK’s electricity, water and gas supply companies.

To register, see your utility bills.

Alternatively, you can find your energy suppliers using your postcode here then search for “PSR” and or “Priority Service Register” on their websites. The data format seems to be the same regardless of where you register.

Regardless of whether you register by phone online, ensure the following is added:

Two contacts, one of whom should be your store operations manager.

An email address, so you will receive maintenance emails (i.e. advance warning).

NB For the categories, you probably need to tick medical equipment->refrigerated medicines AND chronic/serious illness.

Ensure you put the word ‘pharmacy’ in at least one field.

Tick the information-sharing box that means that your details will be shared between utility companies for this purpose.

NB You need to register separately with your water supply company as a ‘sensitive property’, as data sharing is not yet in place. See your water bill for contact details.

In the longer term, UK power networks say they are working with the other utility companies to refine the registration process to cope better with essential services registration. An NPA representative has offered to attend their Partnership Forum to help this

You may also wish to consider Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPSs) and even a generator; while bearing in mind how long you need to keep running before you close.

Do update your SOPs to reflect any extra protection.

Note the UK wide number to phone in event of a power cut: 105