NHS website (formerly called NHS Choices) is the primary public facing website of the NHS. Its pages include directories of local health services (a Directory of Services), information on a wide range of conditions and treatments and accessible public health information. The site also provides comparative data about healthcare providers, to help people make informed choices about their healthcare and allows patients to provide online feedback on services.
Pharmacy contractors can register to take ownership of their pharmacy profiles and edit information such as opening hours, services offered and car parking arrangements. It is also possible to register to receive alerts and respond to any patient feedback left on the site.
Guidance about NHS Choices now being referred to as the NHS website
The NHS Choices logo has been removed from the NHS website but the NHS identity will remain. The website URL will remain the same: www.nhs.uk and any pages with updated URLs will be redirected to the NHS website.
References to ‘NHS Choices’ will need to be updated to ‘the NHS website’ on websites and social media channels; in some instances, it may be more appropriate to use: www.nhs.uk
NHS Digital has issued guidance on how to remove references to NHS Choices.
PSNC is in the process of updating its website to reflect this change.
Registering for management rights
There are two types of management rights that pharmacies can register to obtain:
- Web Editor rights allow an individual to update the editable information on their pharmacy profile, e.g. service details or opening times.
- Comment Administrator rights alert an individual to the publication of moderated patient feedback (a rating and/or free text comment) on their profile, and allow the individual to publish (subject to a moderation process) a response to that feedback.
It is for a pharmacy contractor to decide whether they would like the same staff member or two different staff members to perform these separate functions. More than one staff member can be registered linked to a particular role and one staff member can be registered linked to more than one pharmacy profile.
If you have not already been fully set up on NHS website, you can apply for web editing rights here; if however you are applying for editing rights to meet the requirements of the Quality Payment Scheme (QPS), please follow the instructions on the QPS section of the website.
As well as ensuring information on the site is up-to-date, taking control of the information on the NHS website pharmacy profile offers pharmacies a marketing opportunity. Where pharmacies currently have no website, the profile pages on NHS website could act as the pharmacy’s website address. Where pharmacies already have a website, pharmacies can hyperlink to this from their NHS website pharmacy profile.
Once you have web editing rights, the guide to editing pharmacy profiles on the NHS website explains how to update your profile.
Patients that want to leave a comment about a pharmacy need to locate the relevant pharmacy on the NHS website and:
- click on the yellow ‘Leave review’ box;
- click on ‘Reviews and ratings’ and then click on the yellow ‘Leave review’ box; or
- click on the ‘Leave review’ tab.
Patients will be asked to state whether, based on their overall experience, they would recommend the pharmacy to friends and family. They will then be asked to review the pharmacy by typing in a free-text comments box. No comments will be posted until they have been individually moderated. Members of the public visiting a profile will be able to view any feedback left by clicking on the ‘Reviews and ratings’ tab.
Pharmacy right of reply
Pharmacy contractors can register for ‘comment administrator’ rights to receive an alert that a comment has been posted and to respond. Replies will appear directly beneath the original comment.
Responding to a comment
When a comment is left on a pharmacy profile, ‘comment administrators’ will receive an email alert from NHS website. This email will be from the sender ‘No Reply’ and will have the title ‘NHS website: content published’.
The email will tell you a comment has been left against the pharmacy’s profile and provide a link to that comment on NHS website. It will also provide a link to the system, called ‘organisation response’, where you can write your reply.
You will need to login to the organisation response system using your email address and password. These details will have been provided to you by email when your comment administrator account was activated.
Once you are logged in to ‘organisation response’, you will see all of the comments that have been made about your pharmacy. Each comment will have a link to ‘Enter a response’.
When clicked, a box will open up into which you can write your response. Responses can be a maximum of 2,000 characters.
When you have finished writing your response, click the ‘submit response’ button.
This response will then enter NHS website moderation system. Once it has passed moderation, it will be published beneath the original comment.
A number of important safeguards have been put in place to protect pharmacies and members of staff from unwarranted threats to their reputation. These are as follows:
- All comments published on the NHS website are reviewed by moderators who will reject any comments in breach of their comments policy and general terms and conditions.
- Comments that are unlawful, harassing, abusive, threatening, obscene, sexually suggestive, racist, homophobic or sexist, or that incite or promote hatred of any group or individual will be removed.
- Individual staff (either clinical or nonclinical) cannot be named and all gender references will be removed.
- Whilst anonymous comments are allowed, users have to provide a validated e-mail address before a comment can appear on the site so NHS website can contact the correspondent if necessary;
- A ‘report as unsuitable’ link directly under a comment enables people to bring to the NHS website team’s attention, comments they deem to be unsuitable or offensive. Reporting a comment will not delete it but will temporarily remove it and ensure that it is looked at as soon as possible. The moderators will then decide whether to remove it permanently or reinstate it.
- The comments section is not suitable for making general political points about NHS services.
- Feedback from pharmacy staff will not be accepted.
- Pharmacy staff must not post comments on behalf of patients, their friends or family members.
Hints and tips from NHS website on responding to patient feedback
Feeding back about improving NHS website pharmacy profiles and updating them
NHS Digital is planning enhancements for NHS website pharmacy profiles. These include improving how patients see pharmacy profiles and also making it easier for pharmacy teams to update their profiles in the future.
PSNC is encouraging community pharmacy contractors to provide feedback to inform these developments. Written feedback about the NHS website profiles, as well as preferred features in the future, can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NHS Digital is also interested in offering some pharmacy contractors the chance to feed in via a telephone call or within the London and Leeds areas the opportunity to use test versions and directly comment to NHS Digital visitors for sessions of approximately 30-45 minutes. If you would like to feed back or know someone that might, please contact PSNC’s Community Pharmacy IT Lead, Dan Ah-Thion.
NHS website's medicines A-Z directory and feeding back about it
The NHS website includes a Medicines A-Z directory at nhs.uk/medicines. The patient-facing online directory may occasionally promote discussion between patients and the pharmacy team. The directory offers patient-friendly information on commonly-used medications, with guidance on dosage to management of side effects. Information within the tool will align with what is set out within patient information leaflets (PIL). Patients at home may be able to refer back to the A-Z to look-up their medicine, if they want to re-check something, even if their PIL has been lost. The tool has been further developed during 2019 to use plainer English. The directory has more than two million visitors each month – many of those visitors located within England.
Pharmacy professionals have the opportunity to help improve the A-Z directory further by taking the 10-minute survey about the A-Z directory before the survey closes on 30th November 2019. Survey results will inform further development. The first question allows selection of pharmacist or ‘other’ for other members of the pharmacy team.
Frequently asked questions
Q. Can I post information on the private services that I provide on my NHS website pharmacy profile?
A. Yes, pharmacies can include information on both private and NHS-funded healthcare services on the NHS website.
Q. Does the same individual need to act as profile editor and patient feedback comment administrator for a particular pharmacy?
A. No. The passwords for editing pharmacy profiles and responding to feedback are different. It is for a pharmacy contractor to decide whether they would like the same staff member or different staff members to perform these two functions.
Q. Is it possible for more than one staff member from the same pharmacy to have profile editing rights?
A. Yes, it is possible to have multiple individuals assigned as editors of a particular pharmacy profile, for example if it was a contractor’s preference to have a staff member at Head Office and a staff member at store level, sharing responsibility for keeping the profile up to date.
Q. Is it possible to assign more than one staff member from a particular pharmacy patient feedback comment administrator rights (including receiving email alerts when comments are posted)?
A. Yes, it is possible to have multiple individuals assigned as patient feedback comment administrators of a particular pharmacy, for example, if a pharmacy owner would prefer to delegate responsibility for responding to feedback to a member of their team but would also like to personally receive the alerts of any feedback received.
Q. If there is a change of ownership of the pharmacy, how should the new owner register for profile editing rights and patient feedback comment administrator rights?
A. The new owner should contact the NHS website helpdesk for these rights; access will be enabled for the new owner and access rights removed from the old owner.
Q. How long will comments remain on the NHS website?
A. Published comments and ratings remain on the NHS website for 2 years from the date they are published. After 2 years they are deleted along with any associated ratings and information.
Q. If patients have provided feedback on a pharmacy profile and there is a change in ownership, will the comments be removed?
A. The comments will still be retained provided the pharmacy occupies the same physical premises and retains the same name. If it moves or changes name, the NHS website team would normally remove the feedback and/or set up a new profile. Where the feedback is retained, the NHS website team would advise the new owners to make clear in their profile that the pharmacy is under new ownership and, if there are old items of feedback which have not been replied to, add replies to these stating that this feedback relates to a period when the pharmacy was under different ownership.
Q. Do distance selling pharmacies (DSPs) have an NHS website pharmacy profile?
A. As DSPs cannot provide Essential services to patients on their pharmacy premises NHS website doesn’t provide a geographic pharmacy profile for this type of pharmacy. Instead the site details the websites of DSPs in a separate list which is accessible from the search results page whenever a website user searches for a pharmacy.
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