Lloyds Pharmacy Online Doctor is the first online service to be passed as providing safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led services in accordance with the relevant regulations in the latest round of inspections of online providers of primary care, carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Expert Health Limited, which uses the trading name Lloyds Pharmacy Online Doctor, underwent an announced comprehensive inspection on 17 May 2017. Among the main findings of the inspection, the CQC noted that prescribing by Lloyds Pharmacy Online Doctor was monitored to prevent any misuse of the service and ensure GPs and independent prescribing pharmacists were prescribing appropriately.
In addition, patients were observed as being treated in line with best practice guidance; the service had clear systems to keep people safe from abuse and to check patients’ identities; and there were appropriate recruitment checks and induction processes in place for all staff.
Lloyds Pharmacy Online Doctor clinical director, Amanda Dorkes, said that unlike online-only services, Lloyds Pharmacy’s approach went beyond prescribing medication.
“The technology we use has been built and refined by our doctors over the last 10 years,” she explained. “It alerts them to circumstances where patients require face-to-face care, which can often be delivered that day by our pharmacy network.”
In March 2017, the CQC issued a warning to the UK population to exercise caution when buying medication online because of safety concerns. All 39 online services are subject to investigation by the CQC, with the latest round of inspections due to be completed in Autumn 2017. So far, the CQC has published reports on 15 online providers of primary care.
The CQC will re-inspect providers when enforcement action has been necessary, and those inspections will also be published.