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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Failure to act on health and safety concerns

Pharmacy type


Pharmacy context

The pharmacy is in a health centre on a busy road leading into the centre of the city. The pharmacy sells over-the-counter medicines and dispenses NHS and private prescriptions. It offers advice on the management of minor illnesses and long-term conditions. It supplies medicines in multi-compartment compliance packs, designed to help people remember to take their medicine. And it delivers medicines to people’s homes.

Relevant standards

  • 1.1 - The risks associated with providing pharmacy services are identified and managed
  • 2.5 - Staff are empowered to provide feedback and raise concerns about meeting these standards and other aspects of pharmacy services
  • 3.1 - Premises are safe, clean, properly maintained and suitable for the pharmacy services provided

Why this is poor practice

The pharmacy does not have a working fire alarm. And people in the pharmacy can’t hear the alarm in the adjoining health centre. This poses a health and safety risk to both staff and people visiting the pharmacy and adjoining health centre. The pharmacy does not have an appropriate waste management contract in place. This means that waste is accumulating and poses a risk to staff and the surrounding environment, where it is stored.

What the shortcomings are

The pharmacy premises appeared well maintained and secure. A heavy-duty temporary sign hung above the entrance of the pharmacy. But a sign on the door indicated that the pharmacy was still trading under the previous ownership. Pharmacy team members could report maintenance concerns to their head office. But concerns reported by the pharmacy team relating to the fire alarm not working and refuse collections ceasing had not been managed appropriately by the pharmacy’s owners. Staff reported that the fire alarm system had not worked for some months. Nor could the team hear the medical centre’s alarm to respond. The waste management company had last collected the pharmacy’s external general waste bins several months ago. This meant that there had been no refuse collection for some time. General waste was stored in black bags in an external lock-up. The lock-up was full of bags stacked on top of each other and reaching above 6-foot high. These issues posed health and safety concerns to people visiting the pharmacy and to pharmacy staff.

What improvements are required

The pharmacy must ensure appropriate fire safety procedures are in place in accordance with health and safety standards. And that all team members receive appropriate training on what to do in the event of a fire. The pharmacy must ensure its general waste is stored safely and collected in a timely manner. It should also seek to confirm there is no pest activity due to the accumulation of waste.

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