A inspection imageJune 19 2018

A practice-based audit will seek to explore community pharmacy’s contribution in supporting girls and women of childbearing potential who need to take valproate medicines.

Launched by the Company Chemists’ Association, the audit tool has been designed to help pharmacists and their teams review and reflect on their current practice and to assess what changes may need to be made. The first phase of the audit will begin in July, and the second phase will begin in November.

The audit follows on from changes to the medicines licences for valproate medicines introduced earlier this year meaning the products should not be used in pregnancy and women of child bearing potential. Those taking valproate should be made aware of the risks of teratogenicity and be on a planned pregnancy progamme as appropriate.

While the audit is being sent out to CCA member pharmacies, the Association is urging all community pharmacy teams to participate. The audit materials can be downloaded from the CCA site (link below).

Kate Livesey, the CCA’s Policy & Programmes Manager, said: “Community pharmacy teams play a vital role in the care of patients taking these high-risk medicines. Given the importance of this year’s topic, we would like to see pharmacy teams from all across the country getting involved in our audit and reviewing their current practice.  

“We’re really keen to build a body of evidence from across the whole sector that demonstrates what pharmacy teams are doing to improve care and minimise the risk of harm around valproate in pregnancy.”  

PSNC has lent its support to the launch of the audit. Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services, at PSNC said: “Patient safety is always a priority in community pharmacy and this audit provides a great opportunity to make a difference to patient safety by focussing on a high-risk medicine associated with birth defects and developmental disorders. 

“Community pharmacy teams are in an ideal position to provide information and advice to women and girls who have been prescribed this medicine, ensuring they get the crucial support they need. This audit is an excellent option for contractors to complete to meet the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework requirement to undertake a practice-based clinical audit.”

CCA announcement      
CCA Valproate audit resource   
PSNC comment