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My day as a Specialist Medicines Management Technician

Published: 24th October 2017, 11 a.m.

It’s Thursday.

The week has been very busy, and a plan for a quiet Thursday catching up on office work has become a little derailed due to a serious incident that has been uncovered recently.

I work for NEL CSU, a commissioning support unit that provides services of one sort or another to CCGs all over England. I work within the team based in Norwich, from where we deliver a full medicines management service to the four local CCGs.  Around half to two thirds of my time is spent dealing with controlled drugs work on behalf of the NHS England Controlled Drugs Accountable Officer. I deal with the CD incidents in GP practice, care homes and community pharmacy across Norfolk and Suffolk The rest of my time is spent managing the primary care rebate schemes for 4 CCGs which can involve everything from meeting pharma company representatives to set up rebates and ensure the contracts are acceptable, to raising the invoices and chasing payment. Today, however, is very much CD-centric.

I check my email before I leave home as my 50 minute commute can be a useful time to make phone calls and ensure when I get to work, I’m in the best position possible. I arrive in the office at 8:45 and set about tying up a couple of loose ends before I settle down. I do some admin related to a CPPE event I ran on Monday (I work part time as an Events Tutor) and check CPPE email. I then start to prioritise what I need to do for the rest of the day.

Every time a CD incident is reported to the CDAO, I get an email with the details and then triage what needs to happen. For serious incidents, I may need to speak to colleagues at the police, CQC, GPhC, GMC or other statutory bodies. Thankfully, in the vast majority of cases I will either talk to or visit the people involved and discuss what they have changed as a result of the incident, or ask that they complete an action plan or root cause analysis. This morning I have a handful of new incidents to deal with but none are particularly serious. I speak to the area manager of a large multiple about one of their branches I have concerns about and I write up two pharmacy visits I made on Tuesday.

After spending the morning in the office, I leave to go to a meeting regarding a serious incident at midday. The area I cover is large so unfortunately I have an hour and a half drive to get to the meeting. When I arrive I am thankfully given a much-needed coffee, and we sit down to discuss the next steps in this case. Around the table is the police Controlled Drugs Liaison Officer, myself and four senior managers of the organisation involved. As the case is ongoing I can’t reveal any of the detail, but it is one of many I deal with where openness and communication would have helped vastly and may have stopped things from going wrong.

After the meeting, I head home and start dealing with some of the issues that arose from what was discussed. A couple of extra incidents have come in since I’ve been out of the office and I triage them and finally log off at about 6.

I really enjoy my role, and love the variety it offers. I do miss patient interaction and the satisfaction that I got from it in my community pharmacy job, however I work hard to make sure that every incident I deal with has a positive outcome and enhances the safety around controlled drugs for patients, professionals and the public.

Oliver Jones

Specialist Senior Medicines Management Technician

NEL CSU

October 2017