The clinical governance requirements are classed as an essential service, meaning that all pharmacies must be compliant with them. Compliance helps contractors to demonstrate that they meet quality standards and provide a high standard of care. The requirements cover elements such as risk management; clinical audit; staff induction, training and development; and information governance (see below).
Information governance (IG) is about the way organisations store and handle information, including personal information relating to service users (patients) and employees, and corporate information, for example financial records. It provides a way for employees to deal consistently with the many different rules about how information is handled, including those set out in:
- the data protection act 1998
- the common law duty of confidentiality
- Confidentiality: NHS Code of Practice guidelines
- the NHS care record guarantee for England
- The social care record guarantee for England
- the international information security standard ISO/IEC 27002: 2005
- Information Security: NHS Code of Practice guidelines
- Records Management: NHS Code of Practice guidelines
- The Freedom of Information act 2000
The IG toolkit is a performance tool produced by the Department of Health. It draws together the legal rules and central guidance into a single set of requirements. NHS Organisations, including community pharmacies, are required to complete the toolkit to self-assess their compliance against these requirements.
Version 14 of the IG Toolkit for community pharmacies and dispensing appliance contractors (DACs)
was released in May 2016. The assessment can be started at any time after the new version of the toolkit is released (usually between April and June each year) and the final submission must be made online by 31 March each year. NHS organisations are also required to complete interim assessments during the year. Deadlines for interim submissions are publicised when a new version of the toolkit is released.
For further information on the IG toolkit please see the NHS Digital (previously HSCIC) IG toolkit webpages.
Guidance on the clinical governance requirements has been produced by NHS Employers and PSNC; this was last updated in 2012.