NPA leads the way in patient safety

14 Sep 2018

The NPA leads the way in patient safety for independent community pharmacies.

In 2015, The NPA’s Director of Pharmacy, Leyla Hannbeck, was appointed by NHS Improvement to the role of Medication Safety Officer (MSO) for all independent community pharmacies in England (both NPA members and non-members) with less than 50 branches. Such contractors are encouraged to continue reporting their patient safety incidents to the NPA via our platform (please see further information below).

Through the MSO role and analysis of the thousands of the patient safety incidents submitted to the NPA each year, we have been able to support community pharmacies in all aspects of patient safety, including sharing and learning from incidents through patient safety quarterly reports for both England and Scotland (see further information for Scotland below). These can be used to evidence national reporting. Furthermore, in England, the NPA has actively supported community pharmacies in meeting the patient safety criterion for Quality Payments.

All patient safety guidance and support available from the NPA, including the NPA incident reporting form and platform, have always been available free of charge to both NPA members and non-members without subscription to reflect the NPA’s nationally appointed MSO role.


Patient safety incident reporting

The NPA supports community pharmacies in reporting patient safety incidents the dedicated NPA patient safety platform.

  • There has been an 850% increase in the number of reports received by the NPA since the incident reporting form was launched in 2015
  • Following the success of the patient safety incident reporting form in England, this model has been adopted in Scotland even though there is no MSO requirement/system there – this demonstrates the value of the work NPA does and the positive impact it is having in the UK on improving patient safety
  • Northern Ireland is working on adopting this model too


Patient safety incident data is collected from the submitted incident reports, analysed and learnings shared via the MSO patient safety quarterly reports. The NPA also encourages the reporting of near-misses as these can help highlight potential incidents. All previous MSO quarterly reports, for England and Scotland, can be freely accessed from the NPA website.


NPA guidance and support

One of the key roles the NPA Pharmacy team undertakes is in producing key guidance/resources to promote and improve patient safety on a day-to-day basis for pharmacy teams. Our current resources include:


National level

The NPA is a member of the Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group (PSG), which consists of all MSOs in England, to help gain information about the patient safety policies and practices adopted by various community pharmacies, and learn about innovative patient safety incident prevention strategies being put forward throughout the country. Through this group, the NPA has engaged with NHS England and NHS Improvement to highlight its patient safety work at a national level. The NPA MSO reports contain good practice guidance and top tips for improving patient safety; these reports are regularly cited as very valuable by other MSOs to inform their own practices.

Requests from the Patient Safety Domain in NHS England and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are often received regarding medication error incidents. For example, the high risks associated with the exposure to valproate during pregnancy was highlighted to the NPA as it remains a high priority patient safety concern of NHS Improvement, the MHRA and health organisations across Europe.



The work done by the NPA to enhance patient safety was nationally recognised at the patient safety congress in 2017 when the NPA was shortlisted for the prestigious ‘Best Patient Safety Improvement Team’. The Patient Safety Congress and Awards hosted by the Health Service Journal is a high profile event attended by the Health Secretary and other influential figures in the health service.


For further information on this or any other query, please contact the NPA Pharmacy team on 01727 891 800 or email

Produced by the NPA Pharmacy team, September 2018.