Lloyds Pharmacy Online Doctor has become the first online healthcare provider to pass its Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection.
Published 18 July, the CQC’s report said that the online prescriber was found safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led.
The CQC are inspecting 39 digital healthcare providers (since April), following a pilot inspection process last year to decide its online inspection methodology and criteria.
In the Lloyds report, the CQC said there were comprehensive systems to check patient identities, prescribing was monitored and there were clear systems in place to keep people safe.
“Patient identity was checked on registration and at every consultation or when prescriptions were issued”, said the report.
The CQC also said that Lloyds had improved in how it shared information with patient’s own GPs, after the regulator found issues with how prescribing of certain medications.
This stands in contrast to the recent flurry of highly critical CQC reports recently published on online healthcare providers.
Earlier this month, Pharmacy 2U was condemned by the CQC for not proving safe, well led or effective healthcare. The Leeds-based company is taking immediate action to rectify the issues.
In April the health and social care regulator cracked down on potentially unsafe online prescribers that fail to carry out adequate identity checks or to review a patient’s medical history, and used its urgent enforcement powers to suspend registrations or impose conditions on four online prescribers.
Andy Sloman, managing director at Lloyds also commented on these recent publications.
“The results of our CQC inspection clearly highlight a way forward for an industry that has been called into question recently”, he said.
“Online doctors provide a much-needed service, whether patients are accessing medications they feel too embarrassed to talk to their own GP about, or need a more convenient service that fits a hectic lifestyle.”
In March, the CQC released a joint statement with the General Medical Council, the General Pharmaceutical Council and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency warning patients to act with caution when buying medicines online.
Lloyds Pharmacy Online has 1.3 million patients registered, and was set up in 2002.
Customers could use the service through its website, and then choose whether to deliver the medicines to their home address or pick up from an affiliated pharmacy, 280 of which are in Sainsbury stores.
The company is called Expert Health Limited, but has a trading name of Lloyds.