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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Efficient supply of acute and urgent medicines

Pharmacy type


Pharmacy context


Relevant standards

  • 4.1 - The pharmacy services provided are accessible to patients and the public

Why this is notable practice

The pharmacy ensures people receive their acute and urgent medicines as soon as possible without unnecessary waiting in the pharmacy following telephone consultations with GPs.

How the pharmacy did this

The pharmacy led on developing protocols and new ways of working with the local health centre and some other local pharmacies. This included ensuring acute and urgent prescriptions were sent to the correct pharmacy for dispensing, and ensuring people knew how to obtain their prescribed medicine.

GP consultations took place by telephone during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of the consultation, if a prescription was issued, the GP asked the person for their preferred pharmacy and their mobile phone number. The GP explained to people the pharmacy would message them when their medicine was ready. And asked them not to contact or go to the pharmacy before that. With people’s consent, the GPs included the mobile phone number when they used secure email to send a copy of the prescription to the persons designated pharmacy. The pharmacy then sent a text message to people to let them know their prescriptions were ready.

The pharmacy had explained to the GP practice the legal requirement for the original prescription to be received within 72 hours. This reduced the time required to chase up original prescriptions following the supply of the medicine.

What difference this made to patients

The pharmacy is working well with other local healthcare providers to manage access to medicines throughout the pandemic. The process adopted for acute and urgent prescriptions means people do not present at the pharmacy before their medicine is ready. And people are not kept waiting in the pharmacy. This reduces the risk associated with transmitting the virus.

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