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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Developing the scope of competence of pharmacist independent prescribers working for an online pharmacy

Pharmacy type

Internet / Distance Selling

Pharmacy context

Thisis an online pharmacy based in an industrial estate. It supplies medicines topeople against both NHS and private prescriptions. People can use thepharmacy’s website to access treatment for a range of conditions. The pharmacy uses Pharmacist IndependentPrescribers (PIPs) to prescribe medicines privately.

Relevant standards

  • 2.2 - Staff have the appropriate skills, qualifications and competence for their role and the tasks they carry out, or are working under the supervision of another person while they are in training

Why this is notable practice

The pharmacy ensures its pharmacist independent prescribers (PIPs) have the necessary training and work within their scope of competence. It encourages the ongoing development of their clinical practice. And it has a standardised induction process which ensures all PIPs have the same baseline of clinical expertise.

How the pharmacy did this

The pharmacy supported PIPs through a comprehensive induction programme. The induction included reading and signing all clinical guidelines for every treatment offered by the pharmacy. These clinical guidelines helped ensure PIPs understood their role and worked within their scope of competence.

Following the induction period, all new PIPs began prescribing in a defined clinical area. Their prescribing was second checked by a more senior clinician. The pharmacy also had an escalation process for PIPs to follow in the event they needed to deviate from its clinical guidelines. All PIPs worked on site which provided a peer support mechanism where shared learning could flow easily. And they had the opportunity for dedicated one-to-one sessions with the clinical advisor to discuss a clinical area of their choice where they identified a need for self-improvement.

The pharmacy provided regular dedicated training time for PIPs. And it maintained records of their competencies and skills as they progressed with their development in their chosen areas of prescribing.

What difference this made to patients

People using the pharmacy receive a safe and effective service delivered by knowledgeable, competent prescribers. Prescribers’ expertise ensure that people can expect a service which is timely and consistent and tailored to their needs.

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