A reminder for hospital pharmacists about reporting incidents

A reminder for hospital pharmacists about reporting incidents website image 1

PDL is raising awareness with hospital pharmacists about the need to report incidents to PDL. This call has been prompted by a recent review of PDL’s incident reporting data which indicates that hospital-based PDL members are disproportionately less likely to report an incident in comparison to community-based colleagues. PDL suggests there may be several reasons for this disparity.

PDL is aware of the workload demands on all pharmacists in the past few years and recognises that hospital pharmacists experienced constant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this pressure continues with current workload and capacity challenges. These demands may see pharmacists document incidents internally as this process may be streamlined within the organisation. However, there may be a perception that reporting externally is time consuming and may be unnecessary.

PDL understands that internal reporting of incidents is very good in public and private hospitals as there are well-defined and supported reporting structures. Hospitals have well-established governance systems to ensure quality and safety regarding the supply of medicines. These systems are embedded in the practice of all hospital practitioners and PDL understands pharmacists are compliant with these reporting requirements. This internal incident reporting and review process is vital for the patients, staff and the organisation, however it does not address the requirement and benefits to report to PDL.

Once a pharmacist has made the internal incident report to initiate any review process, there may be a sense that the matter is being handled by the appropriate people and systems. There may also be a belief that, if action is taken by the patient or others, the hospital system and its insurer will take management of the matter. While that may be true to a degree, PDL urges pharmacists to also inform PDL of all incidents, not only as it’s a requirement of the PDL Master Policy, but this also allows for support and advice to the individual pharmacist and can prepare the pharmacist in the case of any escalation to a complaint or claim.

Hospital insurers may assist employees in the case of a claim or regulatory action, though their primary responsibility will always be to the institution. Reporting and contact with PDL can provide peace of mind that all advice is given in the interests of the individual pharmacist. This is particularly important if there are situations where there has been a lapse in protocols or governance which might be a contributing factor in the incident.

PDL always encourages the use of open disclosure when managing an incident or near miss situation. We remind pharmacists that a prompt and professional response is expected and will always be taken into consideration if a matter ever escalates to regulatory action.

The reporting process

PDL reminds members that the reporting process is easy and efficient, with online reporting via the PDL member portal. Reporting an incident to PDL does not affect a member’s policy, premium or renewal and will be managed in a non-judgemental manner by the PDL Professional Officers.

For immediate advice and incident support, call PDL on 1300 854 838 to speak with one of our Professional Officers. We are here to support our pharmacist members 24/7.