Key considerations around delivering medicines

18 Mar 2020

We have received queries on many different aspects of delivering medicines. Read our article on the key considerations and steps you need to take in your pharmacy.

  • Identify risks
    • Check to see if your delivery drivers are in the ‘at-risk’ group or aged 70 years old or over – follow the latest Government advice for these groups of individuals which recommends social distancing
    • Ensure that the delivery drivers have access to and understand the latest advice from the government on coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • Ensure delivery drivers are equipped with hand hygiene products and antiseptic wipes
    • Carry out risk assessment of patients requiring a delivery on a case-by-case basis – decide the best way to make the delivery safe
  • Review requirement for collecting signatures from patients (see further details below)
  • Update the Business Continuity Plan in line with any amendments made to the standard operating procedures (SOPs)
  • The new process must be communicated to pharmacy staff and drivers as well as locums

Doorstep deliveries – When making deliveries, they may be left on the patient’s doorstep, and the delivery driver can wait at a distance (>2m) until it has been collected from the doorstep by the patient/carer, and make a note in the delivery record to confirm that it has been delivered. Confirming who has accepted the medicine (patient / carer / family member) is also a good idea and an additional safeguard in case of future queries.

Requirement to obtain a signature – It is good practice but not a legal requirement for a patient/representative to sign for their medicines (and/or devices) at the point that it is handed to them as confirmation of receipt. You can temporarily relax this requirement in your SOP and look to different ways of making and confirming delivery to the patient. A review date for this temporary relaxation should be included in your revised SOP. Following the end of the current pandemic situation, the SOP should revert to your usual processes during the recovery phase of your business continuity plan.

Delivering controlled drugs (CDs), temperature-sensitive medicines, high-risk medicines

  • For delivering CDs, especially Schedule 2 CDs, the delivery driver should note the name of the individual who collects the medicine from the doorstep and record it in their delivery record. This can be done instead of collecting the patient/carer signature for delivering Schedule 2 CDs
  • A further safeguard could include the pharmacist contacting the patient before and after the delivery to ensure that the patient is aware of the impending delivery of their CD medication, as well as to confirm afterwards that the patient has received the CD items
  • Similarly, the name of the person picking up the doorstep delivery should be recorded for deliveries of temperature-sensitive medicines such as insulins or other fridge lines
  • This process could also apply to any ‘high-risk’ medicines with potential for misuse

Electronic delivery support devices such as the Pro Delivery Manager (PDM) available via the NPA
NPA members using Pro Delivery Manager (PDM) can use the functionality to flag to delivery drivers if the patient they are delivering to is in isolation/self-isolating. PDM will also give the driver a default delivery note which will give instruction by the pharmacist on how to adhere to their SOP.

We are continuing to look into various aspects of deliveries, and will update our guidance as new information becomes available.