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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Culture of continuous learning and openness

Pharmacy type


Pharmacy context

The pharmacy is located in a supermarket on the outskirts of a small town​​. The pharmacy dispenses NHS and private prescriptions. It also supplies multi-compartment medicines devices for people to use in their own homes. The pharmacy offers advice on the management of minor illnesses and long-term conditions. It also offers flu vaccinations, a minor ailments scheme, a smoking cessation service and supplies emergency hormonal contraception.​​​​​

Relevant standards

  • 2.4 - There is a culture of openness, honesty and learning

Why this is notable practice

Team members receive protected time to learn and are well supported in their development. They openly discuss any risks they identify and are encouraged to make suggestions to improve the services they offer to people.

How the pharmacy did this

Pharmacy team members completed regular training relevant to the services they offered. This included packages on the company e-Learning system. Copies of certificates of completion of training courses were maintained for each member of the team. A team member described that she was booked on to several courses in the coming weeks to allow her to carry out additional services such as a new-commissioned smoking cessation service. She felt supported in her development and was provided with dedicated time during working hours to complete this training. A team member, who was a trainee, also received protected time to learn. The responsible pharmacist was seen to coach him on his technique when selling medicines over the counter. He was receptive to her feedback.

Team members were set yearly development plans and had six-monthly performance reviews. The team gave each other regular ad hoc feedback and there was a clear culture of openness and honesty. A communications diary was used to allow team members working different shifts to communicate any issues in the pharmacy to each other.

Team members felt confident to raise concerns and give feedback to the responsible pharmacist, who they found to be receptive to ideas and suggestions. Team members reported that they were able to make suggestions for change to improve efficiency and safety, such as rearranging the layout of the dispensary to ensure commonly confused medicines were separated. Staff were aware of the escalation process for highlighting concerns within the organisation and a whistleblowing policy was in place.

What difference this made to patients

Pharmacy team members are well-trained and are supported and encouraged to develop their skills and knowledge. They are confident to give advice to people accessing the pharmacy's services. And this advice is up to date. Team members work together to improve the pharmacy by talking openly and honestly about any risks they identify. This makes the pharmacy safer for people using it.

Highlighted standards

We have identified the standards most likely and least likely to be met in inspections, and highlighted examples of notable practice for each of these standards; to help everyone learn from others and to support continuous improvement:

  1. 1.1 Risk management
  2. 1.2 Reviewing and monitoring the safety of services
  3. 4.2 Safe and effective service delivery
  4. 4.3 Sourcing and safe, secure management of medicines and devices
  5. 2.2 Staff skills and qualifications