Surprise audits part of a ‘culture of bullying’

In print

Surprise audits part of a ‘culture of bullying’

Chilton Towle
audit cartoon June 2019
Are surprise audits fair?

Since it was first piloted in Auckland in 2017, Medsafe’s new unannounced pharmacy auditing programme has been a bone of contention for pharmacists. Two years on, Medsafe is claiming the audits are significantly improving the quality of pharmacy services, but many pharmacists aren’t convinced. Jonathan Chilton-Towle reports

“We have entered into a culture of bullying. The whole concept of these audits is trying to catch people out.” A pharmacy sector leader says Meds


Medasfe are as police only and using all the rules and guides to bash pharmacists.

Their approach is purely punitive, they are not interested in promoting or encouraging the health sector at all.

If they can't tick the box or can't understand the process then they want to destroy it.

The have no qualms about decimating the health industry, the patient does not really factor into the equation at all, even though they keep using "patient safety" as a disguise for their own agenda.

They regard themselves as being untouchable and therefore want to become the " Autonomous regulator"  in the new act being proposed.

"Rise of the 4th Reich"

Pharmacy needs to be audited by pharmacists who understand and have practical knowledge and experience about the processes and procedures encountered in day to day pharmacy operations and not by "policeman type bullies" who do not care about the the industry at all.

This needs to change urgently in order to stop this Medsafe "witch hunt"

Its not bullying.

Audits are there to try and achieve a level of consistency and safety across the board.

The surprise audits were inconvenient but not so much that they should be stopped because they give a truer indication of where a pharmacy is at.

I agree with Pharmaceutical president , Ian Mc Michael . A more understanding empathetic approach is required  as was the case as he points out several years back . I now see young pharmacists being intimidated by overly  zealous auditors , and a  bullying culture has prevailed the last few years , rather than a helpful empathetic one . And I agree spot audits are very disruptive and could possibly compromise patient safety at busy times , distracting the pharmacists from core duties . It is unreasonable for medsafe to always expect pharmacies to have"robust systems in place to deal with disruptions" that in the case of an audit may be 1 to 2 hours in duration . 

A more empathetic, and understanding culture needs to be adopted by medsafe  .

Audits are supposed to uncover actions or behaviours that are outside of the expected standard. This corrective undertaking can either be educative or punitive. An educative approach will breed goodwill and foster an environment where pharmacists are willing to accept change.

The current approach is punitive. Pharmacists are scolded for their bad behaviour. This is bullying and breeds the current adversarial relationship which does neither party any good.

We all want the same outcomes but it is better achieved through collaboration rather than conflict.