RPS responds to CQC report on online primary care services

We've responded to the CQC comments on online pharmacy care services

Today the Care Quality Commission published reports based on urgent inspections of two providers of digital primary care and found that they demonstrated significant clinical safety and organisational risk to patients, with widespread failings to provide safe care. Read what the CQC said about the online provision of medicines, along with other regulators including the GPhC and GMC. 

Chair of RPS England Sandra Gidley said:

“We are fully supportive of the action taken by CQC and other regulators to shut down online primary care services that offer scant regard for patient care and safety when supplying prescription medicines. Although improving access through the provision of online services can seem advantageous, when this is done without putting in place safeguards that protect patients and the public from harm, we would expect regulators to take action. 

“Although technology, such as the use of Skype or telehealth consultations for diagnosis can help with access to healthcare in general, there are risks to increasing access to antibiotics specifically.  Unless and until the standards for remote prescribing by private providers reflect the standard of face to face consultations in the NHS, that have been used to reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescribing, we cannot support services that increase the inappropriate use of antibiotics.
“Pharmacists offer the opportunity for patients and the public to obtain health advice and we always advocate a face to face consultation with their local pharmacist.”
For further information members can see Medicines, Ethics and Practice and guidance on providing online pharmacy services at a distance from the General Pharmaceutical Council.
Sandra was also interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning about the issue:

RPS Spokesperson, Neal Patel, appeared on Sky News