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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Effective pharmacy team working practices for the NHSE Pharmacy First service.

Pharmacy type


Pharmacy context

This village pharmacy is adjacent to a GP surgery. Its main services include dispensing NHS prescriptions and selling a range of over-the-counter medicines. The pharmacy provides the NHS Pharmacy First service. It supplies some medicines to people in multi-compartment compliance packs. And it delivers medicines to people's homes. 

Relevant standards

  • 1.1 - The risks associated with providing pharmacy services are identified and managed
  • 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 is well prepared to provide the NHSE Pharmacy First service for people. It proactively puts measures in place and has good working practices to make sure people are properly referred to the pharmacist for a consultation. And to ensure it has the right medicines, readily available for people following a consultation.

How the pharmacy did this

Pharmacy team members worked together to look at ways to support an efficient patient flow through the new NHSE Pharmacy First service. They created a poster and displayed this in various places behind the pharmacy’s retail counter. The poster highlighted the key inclusion criteria for each condition covered by the service. Team members used the poster as an aide memoire to help them assess if referral to the pharmacist for a consultation was appropriate, or whether they could help people in a different way. This included referring the person to their GP or providing them with over-the-counter medicines. This helped the pharmacy in managing its services efficiently and ensured people spoke to the most relevant person to support them with their healthcare needs.

The pharmacy team had a dedicated area within the dispensary to hold separate stock of the medicines that were provided as part of the service. This meant they could monitor stock levels effectively and ensure medicines were available for supply when needed.

What difference this made to patients

People visiting the pharmacy receive good care to help with their healthcare needs. Team members work in an effective way, using available resources, to make informed decisions over people’s needs depending on their symptoms. And they receive medicines in a timely manner if treatment is required following a consultation with a pharmacist.

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