Community Pharmacy Scotland

Last reviewed on 24/01/2013 14:05

Jenny O’Donnell, Head of Support Services at Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) explains how the programme has helped staff to expand their roles in the business, discovering new skills and increasing efficiency.

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We have all learned and gained confidence
Jenny O'Donnell
Head of Support Services







CPS represents all community pharmacy contractors in Scotland. It has a staff of approximately 20 people, and has been involved with Healthy Working Lives since 2008.

When a new Chief Executive joined the organisation, he was keen to improve the wellbeing of the workforce. Several of the staff volunteered to take part, and contacted the local Healthy Working Lives team. The group introduced a range of new measures:

  • a staff questionnaire
  • updated employee handbook, including new guidelines and policies
  • health information topics
  • social events both inside and outside the workplace.

Discovery of new skills in the workforce

Healthy Working Lives helped CPS to run a staff questionnaire, which revealed that some of the staff were keen to see more variation in their job roles. This information was fed back to the Executive Team, leading to big changes at the company.

‘We took the results of the staff questionnaire to the team meeting and it highlighted the issues that we had to deal with. We had to act on it, and, the changes that we’ve made are ongoing.’

Staff have had the opportunity to demonstrate a broader range of their skills in the workplace, as Jenny explains. ‘Everybody’s job descriptions have changed. Before, some of the staff were just doing one thing, checking prescriptions. But now, they go out to pharmacies. They also attend the Pharmacy Contractors’ committee meetings – they all go and take minutes,’ says Jenny

  • representing the company with partner organisations
  • public speaking and presentation
  • organisational skills
  • minute taking.

Improved communication

In the past, these tasks were carried out by managers at CPS, so the company has been able to share duties more evenly among the staff. ‘We have all learned and gained confidence from this,’ Jenny says. ‘That’s one of the big things to come out of our work with Healthy Working Lives.’ ‘Job satisfaction has risen, the company’s staffing resources are now used more efficiently, and managers can spend time focusing on other areas of the business.’

As a result of working with Healthy Working Lives, CPS has introduced a return to work process, which helps staff to settle back into work after a period of absence. This reduces the impact of sickness absence, and means that staff can return to their roles more quickly after a period of absence. ‘When you come back to work you have a chance to sit down and have a one-to-one with your manager, about what the problem was, why you were off, and whether anything can be improved.’

Communication has continued to improve throughout the organisation, allowing the company to react to potential staffing issues more quickly. The value of this approach became clear to CPS when a member of staff was injured outside the workplace. The new return to work interview allowed the manager to spot very early that they would be unable to perform some of their former duties, and to make alternative arrangements. ‘Before Healthy Working Lives this would probably have happened eventually, but the back to work interview made it really easy,’ Jenny says.

Lessons learned

It is important to document the activities that you undertake for Healthy Working Lives. The team at CPS has recorded the steps that they’ve taken carefully, presenting the results to the board and staff, and using this as evidence in their work towards first their Bronze Award, and now the Silver. The Healthy Working Lives group at CPS invited a different member of staff to each of their meetings. The HWL award can be a useful goal to work towards, as it allows other staff to see the value of what you’re doing more clearly.


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