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Inspection carried out on 16 September 2019

During a routine inspection

Letter from the Chief Inspector of General Practice

This service is rated as good overall. The service was previously inspected in June 2017.

The key questions are rated as:

Are services safe? – Good

Are services effective? – Good

Are services caring? – Good

Are services responsive? – Good

Are services well-led? – Good

The Boots Company plc was last inspected in June 2017, but it was not rated as this was not a requirement for online service providers at that time. Since April 2019, all service providers of this type are now rated, and this inspection was undertaken to provide a rating for this service.

We carried out an announced comprehensive inspection at The Boots Company PLC on 16 September 2019. The Boots Company PLC provides an online primary care consultation service and medicines ordering service through their subsidiary Independent Medical Agency.

Our key findings were:

  • The service provided care in a way that kept service users safe and protected them from avoidable harm.
  • Patients received effective care and treatment that met their needs.
  • Patients were treated with respect and commented that staff were helpful and involved them in decisions about their care.
  • Services were tailored to meet the needs of individual patients.
  • The culture of the service and the way it was led and managed drove the delivery and improvement of high-quality, person-centred care.

The area where the provider should make improvements are:

  • Review systems to confirm identity checks for parents to ensure children are safeguarded from potential abuse and harm.

Dr Rosie Benneyworth BM BS BMedSci MRCGPChief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care

Inspection carried out on 23 June 2017

During a routine inspection

Letter from the Chief Inspector of General Practice

We carried out an announced comprehensive inspection at The Boots Company PLC on 23 June 2017. The Boots Company PLC provides an online primary care consultation service and medicines ordering service. Patients register for the service on the provider’s website.

We found this service provided safe, effective, caring, and responsive and well led services in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Our key findings were:

  • The service had clear systems to keep people safe and safeguarded from abuse.

  • Patient identity checks were limited; other than via a credit/debit card check. The provider could not be sure they were consulting with the person who owned the card.

  • There were systems in place to mitigate safety risks including analysing and learning from significant events and safeguarding.

  • There were appropriate recruitment checks in place for all staff.

  • Prescribing was monitored to prevent any misuse of the service by patients and to ensure pharmacist independent prescribers were prescribing appropriately.

  • There were systems to ensure staff had the information they needed to deliver safe care and treatment to patients.
  • The service learned and made improvements when things went wrong. The provider was aware of and complied with the requirements of the Duty of Candour.
  • Patients were treated in line with best practice guidance and appropriate medical records were maintained.
  • The service had a programme of ongoing quality improvement activity.
  • An induction programme was in place for all staff who also had access to all the provider policies.
  • The service shared information about treatment with the patient’s own GP in line with General Medical Council guidance.
  • Survey information we reviewed showed that patients said they were treated with compassion, dignity and respect and they were involved in their care and decisions about their treatment. Information about services and how to complain was available.
  • Improvements were made to the quality of care as a result of feedback and complaints. There was a clear business strategy and plans in place.
  • Staff we spoke with were aware of the organisational ethos and philosophy and told us they felt well supported and that they could raise any concerns.
  • There were clinical governance systems and processes in place to ensure the quality of service provision.
  • The service encouraged and acted on feedback from both patients and staff.
  • Systems were in place to protect personal information about patients. The company was registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The areas where the provider should make improvements are:

  • Review systems for identity checking to ensure patients are safeguarded from abuse and harm and to minimise the risk of potential fraud.

  • Improve identification of significant events to ensure appropriate action is undertaken and learning is shared with all staff.

Professor Steve Field CBE FRCP FFPH FRCGP

Chief Inspector of General Practice

Inspection carried out on 5 February 2014

During a routine inspection

Patients who had used the online prescription service told us they were happy with the information provided online and that the service was, "Brilliant". They told us they were given enough information before they needed to give their consent for their order and for the medication to be prescribed.

We found that appropriate information was taken from patients as an initial assessment to determine if the medication could be prescribed and if it was appropriate for that patient.

Inspection carried out on 30 October 2012

During a routine inspection

We spoke with two patients who had used the online prescription service. They told us they were happy with the information provided online. One patient said, �The information was very good and comprehensive.� They were pleased with the service they had received. One patient said, �Very, very good. No complaints.� They were both happy that they could provide feedback to the service if appropriate.

We found that patients were treated with dignity and respect and received care that met their needs. Patients were safe and staff received induction, training and appraisal. We also found that the provider took steps to assess the quality of the service being provided.

Reports under our old system of regulation (including those from before CQC was created)