A home delivery medicine service with responsibility for more than 150,000 patients has been given another two months by pharmacy regulators to get its house in order.
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) says Healthcare at Home still has a “considerable” amount of work to do to clear the backlog of complaints that arose when its delivery system broke down in June 2014.
The regulator accepted that some progress has been made since it gave the company a July deadline to meet its delivery obligations and tackle complaints about the service to ensure that the problem did not happen again.
But the GPhC’s follow up inspection at the end of July found the company needed to do more and work more quickly to restore patient confidence in its business.
In a statement it said: “Further recommendations have been made to quicken the rate of progress, to ensure patients receive accurate and up-to-date information on their deliveries and to ensure there are adequate contingency plans to maintain services for patients at time of increased work or organisational change.”
Healthcare at Home has to ensure that it carries out a more “robust” assessment of any future plans to take on more patients or more services, the GPhC said.
The company was unable to cope with demand from patients for medicines supplies earlier this summer when it transferred its pharmacy distribution to a new provider and took on more patients.
When the delivery system broke down, patients were unable to get though on the customer advice line and were left “confused and uncertain” about whether they would get their supplies.
In a statement, the company said that more than 90% of its deliveries are now being made on time. Calls to its customer service line are now dealt with in less than 30 seconds and 97% are resolved immediately, it said.
The organisation has a new chief executive Natalie Douglas. Douglas started in June and replaced Mike Gordon who became non-executive chairman of the company, which he joined 19 years ago.
“We have implemented a task force team which is addressing the initial recommendations of our regulator and significant improvements have been made in these areas,” says Douglas. “Healthcare at Home is moving the critical service levels in the right direction with further progress already being recorded following the GPhC inspection.”