Exploration Of The Attitudes Of The Pharmacists Towards The Implementation Of A Systematic Inventory Management Method At The TRHA (Hospital Storeroom )
Inventory management is a key aspect of the pharmaceutical supply system. The system in many cases ought to be simplistic. To ensure the viability of the pharmaceutical supply system lies in a healthy and efficient inventory management system. Although inventory management may sound easy, it requires to be done using accurate stock records and performance monitoring so as to reduce the cases of wastage and shortages and also ensure efficient patient care (Harding & Taylor, 2002). Upon the allocation of 26 million from the Ministry of Health for 2014-2015 for both Pharmaceutical and Non-Pharmaceutical supplies, Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) has experienced intermittent shortages in supply of pharmaceuticals. Recently the shortage has become a cause for concern and as such provision of $20million was placed in reserve by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) through the Division of Health and Social Services (DHSS) to subsidize the purchase of additional supplies. Therefore, a systematic Inventory Management Method was implemented so as to ensure that there was accountability and efficiency in the management of pharmaceuticals (Harding & Taylor, 2002). An exploration of the different responses of different pharmacists on the issue has revealed different attitudes on satisfaction towards the implementation of the strategy.
Varied responses were availed by different pharmacists on the availability of the drugs and satisfaction of the pharmacists with the issue of tendering. A research on thirty pharmacists in the northern and southern region of Trinidad revealed different response (Khan, 2007). According to the private pharmacies, the pharmacists argued that the tendering is likely to result in more efficient service. According to the Asian Journal of biochemical research, 67 percent of the pharmacies said that patients are likely to receive efficient services. However, according to one pharmacist, the services would not be efficient because procurement of the pharmaceuticals was done by the sales representatives directly and not from the distributors. Mixed responses for the availability of drugs were observed. Some argued that the issue of late delivery of drugs would reduce while some pharmacists argued that there would be no significant change even after the introduction of the systematic inventory since the availability of the drugs is already covered by practicing logistics management (Giuffrida, 2001). However the pharmacists were positive about reduction in losses in terms of the drugs that go to waste as a result of expiry on the shelves (Khan, 2007). With the more efficient inventory management, the pharmaceuticals are likely to record reduced losses.
83 percent of the public pharmacists argued that customers should expect to receive efficient services. This is because the supply of the pharmaceuticals is different from this sector. Public pharmacists order stocks from the centralized government and, therefore, the mode of supply is different. 50 percent of the public pharmacists argued that most of the problems of unavailability of the drugs were due to late availability (Rahael, 2006). With the implementation of the program, the shortages are likely to reduce in most of the pharmacies. The public procurement of pharmaceuticals in Trinidad and Tobago is centralized and the responsibility of the procurement semi-autonomous agency that is known as NIPDEC. With the introduction of the systematic inventory management, the pharmacists argued that losses that were incurred due to expiry of drugs would significantly reduce (Homedes, Ugalde & Forns, 2005). This is because the rate of wastage would reduce following better and more efficient ways to check for expiry date. More so the availability of drugs due to late delivery would reduce, and the pharmacists are more likely to offer efficient services to the customers (Rahael, 2006).
Some pharmacists were upset with the introduction of the systematic inventory management method arguing the ministry accessed them of misappropriating the drugs (Giuffrida, 2001). Pharmacists from San Fernando hospital were particularly reluctant with the adoption of the method arguing that the preexisting method exhibited good and the recommended distribution practices as well as the obligation to proper inventory management. The pharmacists also insisted that the information that was obtained from the NIPDEC pertaining to the supply and demand of pharmaceuticals was incorrect. The pharmacists also argued that the inventory management system was appropriate the hospital setting citing that that accuracy in record keeping would improve (Azhar et al., 2014)
Some pharmacists argued that the shift from the manual inventory control would promote the services in the hospital as well as their retirement f drugs from the store room. The sense of control that came with the new system would give the practitioners a sense of control. There was also recorded improvement in giving customers dugs and other items that were not damaged. The pharmacists also acknowledged the reduction in cases of human error. The new inventory management method was more accurate in terms of recording the transactions as well as in cases of miscounting of the goods. Some pharmacists were happy with the shift from the labor intensive methods of keeping inventories (Elhada, Eltayeb & Mudawi, 2014). They argued that less time was used with the new method. More so the method addresses the risks that may lead to the disruption of the supply chain ensuring that the right quality and quantity is delivered at the right place.
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