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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Delivering meaningful interventions to help improve people's health and wellbeing

Pharmacy type


Pharmacy context

​This pharmacy is in a busy town centre within a healthcare centre. The pharmacy is open for 12 hours a day, 365 days ayear. The pharmacy dispenses NHS and private prescriptions.It specialises in providing meaningful interventions relating to managing both minorillnesses and long-term conditions.

Relevant standards

  • 4.1 - The pharmacy services provided are accessible to patients and the public
  • 4.2 - Pharmacy services are managed and delivered safely and effectively

Why this is notable practice

The pharmacy commits a great deal of time to working closely with other healthcare professionals and organisations to support the health and wellbeing of people living in the local community. The pharmacy’s safe and effective services are delivered in an innovative and integrated way which improves outcomes for individual patients and the wider public.

How the pharmacy did this

The pharmacy’s ‘not dispensed scheme’ accounted for 50%-60% of interventions it made. These interventions ranged from medicine counter assistants highlighting when a medicine was cheaper to purchase over the counter to pharmacists physically showing people their medication when providing counselling at the point of hand out. This helped to identify when medicines were not needed. And encouraged people to ask the pharmacist about their medicines. The team understood the aims of the service in terms of improving compliance, reducing medicine waste and decreasing the risk of safety incidents caused by patients hoarding medicines.

The other 40%-50% of interventions (enhanced interventions) involved pharmacists using their professional judgement to identify interventions that would benefit people. Identification of interventions came from Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) alerts, national news and working together with universities on research projects. For example, pharmacy-led interventions for child eczema and depression. A particularly successful exercise involved the pharmacists identifying that death rates caused by respiratory disease in the local area were higher than the national average. The team members had identified people using inhalers. They provided inhaler technique checks, advised people of the correct inspiratory flow using an In-Check Dial and identifed ineffective medicine regimes through liaison with the asthma nurse. People benefitted from these interventions through changes to their combination inhaler regimens. The pharmacy team helped improve compliance with inhaler regimes by educating people about their medicines. This in turn reduced the frequency in which reliever inhalers were used.

The pharmacy team provided numerous other examples of how interventions had benefitted people. This included identifying that a person was not taking insulin as prescribed. This had led to a discussion with the GP and prompted a review. The outcome was that they were stabilised on their insulin regime. This intervention had led the team to recognise a need to check prescriptions for insulin dependent diabetics to ensure an appropriate number of needles and units were also prescribed for the person.

The pharmacy had evaluated the first 20 months of the service. The pharmacy scheme had helped save money for the NHS. And over 3000 interventions had been made to help people with their health and medicines. The pharmacy continued to make around 300 interventions a month. The pharmacy had received postitive testimonals about the services. These included how communication between the pharmacy team, other healthcare professionals and the people using the pharmacy was key to achieving the positive outcomes demonstrated.

What difference this made to patients

The range and quality of the pharmacy’s services add value for people. The pharmacy is committed to improving people's health and wellbeing and working with other healthcare professionals to achieve this. The pharmacy demonstrates a strong, embedded culture of placing the person at the centre of care.

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