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  • Misplaced Keys to Pharmacy

    On last Friday a member of staff 'lost' / 'misplaced their set of keys to the pharmacy - key to the entrance door, security roller door and the alarm fob - dropped them in the car park outside the pharmacy. Thankfully and luckily someone picked them up sometime over the weekend and placed them on the outside window ledge next to the entrance pharmacy door - and LUCKILY no one else saw them to try to use them..... they were seen / picked up by another member of staff on Monday morning on opening the pharmacy.

    The member of staff who misplaced the keys said that they had been worried all w/e about the keys. But - no attempt was made by the person in question to drive back out to the pharmacy to look for them, contact the Pharmacist who was on duty that Friday (they have their number) or even contact another member of staff who lives in the area to ask them to go out and look for them (if they weren't able to come back out to the pharmacy that w/e....)

    Now - the dispensary is holding the same as any other dispensary - litres of morphine liquid, boxes of codeine, diydrocodeine, Methadone liq MST's Oxycodones etc (if anyone wanted to get into the CD safe once in - they probably could....) Obviously - the stock probably totals over 40,000 plus the fact that it is a newly renovated dispensary that costed over £100,000

    The member of staff that 'misplaced' the keys is a 68 year old woman Counter Assistant - who is currently collecting her wage and her pension. I have suggested she drop a day of work as she surely shouldn't need to work a 40 hr week at her time of life - she seems to suggest she does need to.

    I am just in shock that no attempt was made to try to find the keys - no other member of staff was contacted / informed of the scenario to try to help - it was 'sat on' all weekend.

    When we are at work - regardless of qualifications we have to respect her - but definitely age is just a number and does detail any level of maturity.

    But - I put out to you - if there are any suggestions on 'what to do' now? She has had a bit of a cry and apologised and said will be more aware in the future....

    I am still a bit shocked.

    (I've read on google people being fired from Starbucks from losing the keys to the shop - in community pharmacy - this is all a bit different.... and probably if we were to dismiss her she would probably come back with some form of 'unfair' dismissal).


    ?

  • #2
    just an opinion on this (not a solicitor or an HR expert here!)
    Tread very carefully.
    You can't really take action against a person based on their age or whether or not they are taking their pension etc.
    At best you could issue a warning about not taking some kind of action over the keys once the person realised their loss.

    Unless, there anything written down about lost keys being a dismissable act, or not reporting their loss.

    Do you have an SOP in place to cover lost keys?

    If not you are relying on people to have initiative.
    In community pharmacy initiative has been replaced by the SOP.
    There isn't an SOP or clause in SOPs to tell people that they should use their initiative in the absence of an SOP?

    A good thing for this person would be to draft the outline SOP for "known or suspected lost keys" which can then be tidied up, printed, read and signed by everyone and put in the file.

    Good luck!


    A story...
    Once I took the takings to the bank night safe and I waited behind a colleague from nearby branch of the same chain to deposit their nightsafe.
    They closed the 'hatch' and then walked off.
    When I came to deposit mine their takings bag was still in the drawer.
    Had it not been me someone else could have had the days takings.
    (This was in the days before security cameras etc).
    47 BC : Julius Cesar : Veni Vidi Vici : I came, I saw I conquered.
    2018 AD : Modern Man : I shopped, I clicked, I collected.
    How times change.

    If you find you have read something that has upset or offended you an anyway please unread it at once.

    Comment


    • #3
      So is the pharmacy manager/ superintendent pharmacist aware of this incident now?
      The main issue is not she lost the key, these things can happen, the main point to me is the fact she did not raise any awareness about it. It can be more emotionally difficult to take action against someone with that age, but in the end, what she did was not acceptable regardless of age. What happens next ultimately depends on the seniors in your own pharmacy.

      Comment


      • #4
        I did this in one of my early locums. Had gone out to serve a customer with keys in my hand and must have put them down in a drawer while looking for an item. Very fortunately, a staff member held a door key in case called out by police and they slipped home while I waited to lock up. Keys found about a week later. Fortunately, HO held a set and we were able to get another set cut. I have also put the car key down while looking for something in the boot. Had to go through the back seat rest and feel around until found it.
        When in Export I returned the hire car at Kingston Airport, Jamaica and left box for my local manager to check in. On arrival in Trinidad, no sign of the box. My colleague said AirLine must have lost it. After a few days, I found out that he had forgotten to pick up the box and left it in the departure hall. I told him that this could happen to anyone and I did not blame him, but, he should have confessed right away and we could have taken action earlier. Not telling anyone or not confessing to a mistake is the wrong way. Many pharmacists have tried to cover up mistakes and been in trouble with the Stat Comm.
        johnep

        Comment


        • #5
          I think you're over reacting.

          The keys have been lost in a pharmacy that I've worked in and no one batted an eyelid. In retail some quite 'interesting' master keys have been lost. Very high value stuff.

          My experience of these things would be to stop commenting about age completely in this case. Right now, although some of the stuff you've said already is very scary indeed.

          Talking generally, how did it happen they were lost? Did the person finish daytime before the pharmacy was locked up? Or was the counter assistant locking up and dropped them in the car park? Either way I think procedures could be improved. If it is person locking up this shouldn't really ever happen as there should be two people and one should check the other is doing everything right.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you Pharmanaut - there is no SOP with regards to loss of keys/dismissable act etc and what to do in the event - but will put one in place. Really appreciate your post - and v. helpful.

            yes all - I agree - its not the fact they got lost - yes, anyone can do it - the fact is it wasn't reported / told to anyone in a timely manner -

            I am the co-owner of the pharmacy - the other co-owner is also the superintendant and is also aware - and also not entirely pleased. I am aware this will 'pass' with time. It is our business (we are independents). Obviously MY insurance nightmare - if i got to it...... If no one battered an eyelid - it was because it was not their business - they are there to do the days job - and go home.

            So, I do not think I am over reacting - it has taken a great deal of time and effort to get the pharmacy 'set-up' (relocation to a Health Centre) - jumping through NHS legislative and bureaucratic hoops - and fighting against the big multiples of Boots and lloyds in our local area....but also because of this - I am perhaps more (emotionally) involved than an employee or 'locum' - but also because of this I wanted to put it out there and get other peoples opinions / experiences to be able to get some perspective and to move forward....

            The lady finished the day without locking up - reckons it was when she went out in the middle of the day sometime to do a delivery and she had merely dropped them instead of 'dropping them' in the pocket of her bag - the Pharmacist on duty that day locked up at 6pm.

            As a Pharmacist we are expected to 'own up', to confess our mistakes - take responsibility.

            Wanted to know the opinions of others - and I appreciate all comments left on here regarding this - thank you.


            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by 1Hele View Post
              Thank you Pharmanaut - there is no SOP with regards to loss of keys/dismissable act etc and what to do in the event - but will put one in place. Really appreciate your post - and v. helpful.
              A SOP in place doesn't mean it becomes gross misconduct. Even if worded so. Yes, really. I know various idiots on the internet and big chains think it does mean that, but it doesn't. Gross misconduct means a deliberate act or one of gross negligence, and the latter is rather more rigidly defined in case law than people think it is. There would be also an issue of wording on a disciplinary letter which would likely crop up in this case and become highly relevant.

              The dinnertime one is interesting, as that sounds like a few hours may have passed without knowing, that is the difficulty on any SOP or anything else. I did ask on the closing up procedures as that's a red hot one in small retailers like yourself. Usually a half decent locking up policy specifies two people to lock up and one checks the others' work. There are a lot of robberies at opening up/locking up times and in large companies there is the tendency to try and take the piss and have a single person do it.

              What I meant by procedure is it sounds to me like you have employees unnecessarily carrying around keys when they don't need to be. That aspect needs looking at. You seem to be thinking of it in terms of the opposite sense - valuable business. Well if it's valuable then it sounds like you have too many employees wandering around with keys when they don't need to be. Also not everyone would store all the keys/fob/whatsits together, this is something your colleague and you don't seem to have considered but is pretty standard in very high value things (as I said some 'interesting' cases of high value losses).

              Comment


              • #8
                Another teacup, another storm; say a quiet prayer of thanks that the keys did not fall into the hands of the unrighteous and forget it. I don't think that this dear lady will make the same mistake twice.

                A little anecdote from my own experience: a pharmacist friend went out to do a day's locum and at lunchtime (yes-we got a lunch break then, in the 1970's) wandered off without locking up (he normally was not responsible for security). One his return he found two ladies from the local WI zealously guarding the door (rather like the Angels guarding the Garden of Eden in Paradise Lost.)

                They certainly saved his reputation, frankly I think he should have spent his day's fees on flowers/Chocs/Prosecco/Gin/w.h.y to say "Thank You".

                Comment


                • 1Hele
                  1Hele commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yes - it will soon be 'water under the bridge' and yes definitely thankful the unthinkable didn't happen.... just needed to address the matter.... thank you for the anecdote...

              • #9
                On the subject of SOPs in general.
                Anyone tried to read some of them?
                They read like they are legal documents and are tough to get through and are very heavily cross referenced (see SOP 23, Para 2 section 3, subsection iiia)
                The best SOPs are written in the language of those who do the job.
                The best set of SOP had a checklist of what you needed in front of you to do the job before you started.
                And said what you will end up with at the end of the SOP.

                There was a diagram of what you did (like a flowchart).
                This was then supported by brief text explaining some of the *see notes from the diagram.
                47 BC : Julius Cesar : Veni Vidi Vici : I came, I saw I conquered.
                2018 AD : Modern Man : I shopped, I clicked, I collected.
                How times change.

                If you find you have read something that has upset or offended you an anyway please unread it at once.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Coincidentally, am in the middle of checking through our SOP's... it is hard work..... will need to go over 'Dealing with an incident' and make a new one 'Dealing with Misplaced/Lost Keys' (probably worded vigorously around letting another member of staff / RP aware of incident as soon as they are aware of it..... )

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by 1Hele View Post
                    Coincidentally, am in the middle of checking through our SOP's... it is hard work..... will need to go over 'Dealing with an incident' and make a new one 'Dealing with Misplaced/Lost Keys' (probably worded vigorously around letting another member of staff / RP aware of incident as soon as they are aware of it..... )
                    It sure is hard work thinking about anything that might ever happen and deciding what to do if it happens. In my experience we had one set of lost keys in over 20 years. How about an SOP that says, ‘When something happens deal with it. That’s what management is about.’

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Hele ... things like this should really be in your contingency plan under loss and security (IG requires you to have one). PSNC has a template if I remember correctly. So should have the numbers of the shutter people including locksmiths in the plan.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        You can't blame someone for making an honest mistake, we all make mistakes that cost the business money - it's part of the job. We have had keys go missing twice, and just had new locks installed the owner wasn't really bothered as far as I can tell, we also had new locks installed when someone got sacked and the superintendent couldn't remember if the person still had a key.
                        As others have said you need to be careful, you can't suggest someone do less hours because of their age. Tell your counter staff to relinquish their keys, relieve them of that responsibility and open up/close up yourself if you're in that much of a flap over it.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Time for a 'friday anecdote' I think.
                          Its quite a while ago now but we had a staff member who was past retirement who came to help in peak periods.
                          (Yes there were peaks with surgeries back then) and on shop stock delivery days.
                          She made a great contribution to the appeal of the pharmacy as she new 3 generations of local people who she would greet by name.
                          One of her great skills was to start a group conversation amongst the patients waiting for prescriptions - which means they didn't notice the wait as much.
                          Another was if there was a queue and a mother with a crying baby came in with a script she would ask everyone waiting "Would anyone mind if we did this poorly baby's prescription first"? We think everyone waiting was glad about it.
                          47 BC : Julius Cesar : Veni Vidi Vici : I came, I saw I conquered.
                          2018 AD : Modern Man : I shopped, I clicked, I collected.
                          How times change.

                          If you find you have read something that has upset or offended you an anyway please unread it at once.

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            I'm sorry but this is a situation where employment law is being interpreted to the nth degrees.

                            Staff can be expected to have a modicum of intelligence and common sense. You don't need an SOP for losing shop keys to know that it's a serious issue and should be reported immediately. She has put the business at risk both financially and from a regulatory perspective.

                            If you want to take them down a disciplinary route you would be more than able to under employment law.
                            I remember when a blog was an individual boot.

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