Accuracy in Dispensing (AID)

Questions for this course

Which drugs can a qualified Accuracy Checker check?

This is completely dependent on the pharmacist on duty.

Only the pharmacist in charge on any particular day can decide what they feel happy for an Accuracy Checker to final check.  The items they do not want an Accuracy Checker to check should be specified in the SOP so that all staff are aware that the listed items should not be passed to an Accuracy Checker under any circumstance.

Items that some pharmacists may not want an Accuracy Checker to check include:

  • Schedule 2 and 3 controlled drugs
  • Cytotoxic drugs
  • Drugs with a narrow therapeutic index e.g. digoxin, theophylline
  • High risk drugs
  • Prescriptions for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers
  • Prescriptions for young babies and children
  • Prescriptions with new drugs/dose changes/clinically significant interactions etc

This list is not comprehensive and your pharmacist may have other items on the restricted list.  This list may be reduced as a pharmacist gains confidence in the  Accuracy Checker’s ability as they become more experienced.  However, again, this is entirely up to the pharmacist as they take the ultimate legal responsibility to delegate this task to a suitably training member of staff.

I have lost my reassessment portfolio, what do I do?

Don’t panic!

Hopefully you have kept a copy of your portfolio.  If you have not, in most instances you will be required to attend another final assessment day to renew your Accuracy in Dispensing certificate.

You are advised to contact the Professional Development Team to discuss your individual circumstance.

How do I fill in the reassessment portfolio?

Please click here to open up a template of how to fill in the reassessment portfolio (PDF)

Remember, you have to keep copies of 5 prescriptions (minimum requirement) per month, where you have identified errors during your accuracy check.  If you do not find 5 errors in a month, please include copies of 5 prescriptions you have checked.

It is really important to remove all patient identifiable details when attaching evidence to your portfolio.  This includes patient name, address, date of birth and NHS number.  These should be cut off the photocopy and be shredded or alternatively these details should be covered during the photocopying stage so they are not transferred onto the copy.

Finally remember to keep a copy of your reassessment portfolio because if it gets lost, you may have to attend another final assessment to renew your Accuracy in Dispensing certificate.

Do I need to document every single error in my reassessment portfolio

No.

This would be very time consuming.  Remember, you should be keeping a record of near miss errors in your pharmacy as a matter of good practice.  If you want to include this as a record of the errors being picked up in your pharmacy in your reassessment portfolio, you can.  However, if you do this, please clearly indicate the errors you have identified during the final check as a pose to other staff and/or pharmacists who also perform an accuracy check (e.g. by putting your initials against them or highlighting them).

You near miss logs can be attached for each month instead of filling in the error log in your reassessment portfolio (see image below)

Remember, you have to keep copies of 5 prescriptions (minimum requirement) per month, where you have identified errors during your accuracy check.  If you do not find 5 errors in a month, please include copies of 5 prescriptions you have checked.

It is really important to remove all patient identifiable details when attaching evidence to your portfolio.  This includes patient name, address, date of birth and NHS number.  These should be cut off the photocopy and be shredded or alternatively these details should be covered during the photocopying stage so they are not transferred onto the copy.

Can I work in hospital with the NPA Accuracy in Dispensing certificate?

Yes, provided the hospital accepts the NPA qualification.

The NPA Accuracy in Dispensing course is based on the Nationally Agreed Framework for Checking Technicians, which is the NHS framework most accuracy checking course are structured around.  It is at the discretion of the hospital employer whether they accept the NPA training as sufficient to work in the hospital pharmacy sector.

I am working in hospital; can I do the NPA Accuracy in Dispensing course?

Yes, provided the hospital accepts the NPA training course.

We do not restrict hospital pharmacy staff from enrolling on the NPA Accuracy in Dispensing course.  However, you must always check with your employer whether they accept the course in their hospital as they may have their own in-house training or use an alternative training provider.

Please note, if the hospital is a non-NPA member, the enrolment fee will be higher than the NPA member enrolment fee

I have gaps in my reassessment portfolio where I have not been able to check, will this be an issue when it comes to revalidating my certificate?

Maybe.

This will depend on the how many gaps you have and how long they were.  The Accuracy in Dispensing course is a competency based qualification where you must demonstrate that you continue to work in that role.  Therefore, if you are not regularly working  as an Accuracy Checker, we may not be able to renew your certificate.  If you are having some short gaps throughout the two years, we may still be able to consider renewing the certificate as normal.  Alternatively, with bigger gaps in checking, we may ask you to submit further checking logs or attend another final assessment to renew your certificate.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstance, please contact the Professional Development Team.

Can I work as a locum Accuracy Checker with the NPA Accuracy in Dispensing certificate?

Yes.

You can work as a locum Accuracy Checker once you have completed the NPA Accuracy in Dispensing course.  However, you will need to check with each pharmacy/responsible pharmacist that they are happy to accept your training qualification and happy for you to work as an Accuracy Checker.

If you are working in a particular pharmacy for a long period of time, it may be worth carrying out a probationary period of checking with the pharmacist (where they double check you checking) to build up trust and rapport between the two of you.

As part of your reassessment portfolio, you are required to have an appraisal with your pharmacist very 6 months.  If you are working as a locum, we advise that you get an appraisal/statement from each pharmacist you work with to fulfil this criteria as no one pharmacist may witness you work for a long period of time.

Alternatively, if you are acting as a relief accuracy checker working in different branches of the same company, you may be able to have your regular appraisals with a branch/area manager.  If this is the case, you are advised to speak to your head office to agree how you will fulfil all the requirements for your reassessment portfolio.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstance, please contact the Professional Development Team.

I have trained as an Accuracy Checker but am not currently working as one. Will this affect the revalidation of my certificate?

Maybe.

This will depend on the how long you intend to be working in another role/sector.  The Accuracy in Dispensing course is a competency based qualification where you must demonstrate that you continue to work in that role.  Therefore, if you are no longer working as an Accuracy Checker, we may not be able to renew your certificate.  If you are having a short break (less than a year), we may still be able to consider renewing the certificate as normal.  Alternatively, with bigger gaps in checking, we may ask you to attend another final assessment to renew your certificate.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstance, please contact the Professional Development.

Can I re-assess with the NPA if I gained my initial Accuracy Checking qualification from a non NPA course?

Yes.

The way we reassess your qualification will depend on where you have completed your initial accuracy checking training.  In some cases, you may have to start the NPA Accuracy in Dispensing course from the beginning to reaccredit with us.  In other cases, we may ask you to attend our final assessment day.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstance, please contact the Professional Development team.

What do I do if I go on maternity leave / long term leave?

Don’t panic!

Always keep us informed of your status at work.  Provided you have sufficient evidence of working as an accuracy checking for the majority of your two year period, we should be able to take this into consideration when reviewing your portfolio.  In some instances, you may be asked to carry out additional checking under a pharmacist’s supervision and rarely attend another final assessment day.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstance, please contact the Professional Development .

I’m making my travel arrangement for the final assessment, how long should I allow for the assessment on the day?

3-4 hours to be on the safe side.

You are likely to feel nervous on the day of your assessment so the last thing we want is for you to be even more stressed that your parking ticket will run out or that you may miss your train!  For this reason, please ensure you allow enough time for the assessment day.

You will sit the initial final assessment test which lasts 45 minutes.  If you fail on this first attempt, you may be offered a second attempt, which is a further 45 minutes.  This may not happen instantly as other students will be sitting the tests throughout the day and you may have to wait for a test to become available.  Finally, you will attend a brief interview with an NPA assessor.  This may take about 10-20 minutes but this again will depend on when an NPA assessor is available as they will be busy invigilating, marking assessment papers and carrying out other student interviews.

If you allow sufficient time, you will avoid any undue stress by allowing yourself plenty of time to make your return journey home.

What happens if my portfolio is not satisfactory for reaccreditation?

If any of the required elements  are missing or your portfolio does not provide sufficient evidence of you accuracy checking, you may be asked to carry out further checking and in some instances attend another final assessment day.

Please note, there will be a charge (in addition to the reassessment fee) for marking additional work and/or attending another final assessment day.

How long do I have to complete the course?

12 months.

Remember you must complete your final assessment within the same year you submit your checking portfolio of 1000 items.

If you require an extension, please contact the Professional Development team to discuss your particular circumstances.  Your supervising pharmacist may have to provide written confirmation of any extenuating circumstances that have led to your delay in completing the course.

When and where are the final assessment days held?

The final assessment days are conducted throughout the year at various venues around the country.

Email the professional development team to request an updated list of the upcoming dates and locations of our AID final assessment days.

Do I have to have any previous qualification to enrol on this course?

Yes.

  • Recommendation from a pharmacist who has worked with the technician and who believes the technician is capable of attaining competence in checking.
  • The qualifications of the technician being a qualified technician (NVQ3 or equiv.) with 2 years post qualification experience OR a registered technician.

What do I do when my accreditation expires?

You will be sent a reminder letter about 6 weeks before your certificate expires instructing you to submit a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate you have been accuracy checking over the last two years.  This must include:

  • A monthly summary record of your accuracy checking
  • Evidence of errors identified by yourself during the checking process – must include photocopies of prescriptions as supporting dated evidence
  • Near miss logs
  • Details about periods of no checking
  • Record of regular appraisals with your supervising pharmacist
  • Record of CPD
  • Supporting statement signed by supervising pharmacist

Your portfolio must be submitted to the NPA for marking to reissue a new updated certificate.

If any of the above elements are missing or your portfolio does not provide sufficient evidence of you accuracy checking, you may be asked to carry out further checking and in some instances attend another final assessment day.

From 2010, all student will receive a Accuracy in Dispensing Reassessment Portfolio in which they should collate their 2 year evidence.

What do I do if I no longer have a regular pharmacist to act as the supervising pharmacist?

You can continue to accuracy check, provided any locum pharmacists are happy for you to carry out this role during their shift.  If they are a regular locum, we would recommend having a probationary period for both of you to build confidence and rapport with each other.

A locum pharmacist or a regional pharmacy manager can carry out your appraisals and sign your supporting statement if you do not have a regular pharmacist to act as your supervising pharmacist.  However, they must not be forced to do so as they may not be happy to take this responsibility without regularly witnessing your work as an accuracy checker.

How do I book on to a final assessment day?

You can contact the Professional Development team.

Ensure you book well in advance to avoid disappointment as spaces are limited at each venue and assessment time slots are booked on a first come, first serve basis.

How long is the accreditation valid for?

2  years.

The Accuracy in Dispensing course is an ongoing qualification that must be revalidated every two years.  At the end of every two years, you must demonstrate that you are still working as an accuracy checker.

There is a charge for the revalidation of your Accuracy in Dispensing certificate.

Is this an accredited course?

No.

There are currently no accredited accuracy checking courses available.  However, the NPA course is based on the Nationally Agreed Framework for Checking Technicians which is a NHS framework first developed for accuracy checking technicians.

What can I expect on the final assessment day?

You can read more about the final assessment day in the Tutor Pack for the Accuracy in Dispensing course.  We suggest your read through this with your supervising pharmacist and set up some mock tests to prepare for the actual day.

In brief, you will be asked to determine the accuracy of dispensed items against 20 original prescriptions with 1-4 items on each.  The prescriptions will include a range of errors and there may be more than one error on any one prescription.  The pass mark is 100%.  You will have 45 minutes to complete the accuracy checks.  The assessment will take place in a quite environment invigilated by an independent NPA assessor.

If you miss any errors, you may have the opportunity to retake a similar assessment after a short break.  You may have a maximum of 2 attempts at passing the assessment on the day.

You will also have a short informal interview with an independent NPA assessor (whether you pass or fail the assessment).

What do I do if I go on maternity leave / long term leave?

Don’t panic!

Always keep us informed of your status at work.  Provided you have sufficient evidence of working as an accuracy checking for the majority of your two year period, we should be able to reaccredit you.  In some instances, you may have to carry our additional checking under a pharmacist’s supervision and rarely attend another final assessment day.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstance, please contact the Education & Training Department.

Can I re-assess with the NPA if I gained my ACT qualification from a non NPA course?

Maybe.

This will depend on where you have completed your initial accuracy checking training.  In most cases, you will have to start the NPA AID course from the beginning to reaccredit with us.

However, if you would like to discuss your individual circumstance, please email theEducation & Training Department.