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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Implementing the GP Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS).

Pharmacy type


Pharmacy context

This is a traditional community pharmacy in the centre of a town. Pharmacy team members mainly dispense NHS prescriptions and sell a range of over-the-counter medicines. They offer services including medicines use reviews (MUR) and the NHS New Medicines Service (NMS). They provide a substance misuse service, including supervised consumption and needle exchange, and provide medicines in multi-compartmental compliance packs.​

Relevant standards

  • 2.3 - Staff can comply with their own professional and legal obligations and are empowered to exercise their professional judgement in the best interests of patients and the public
  • 4.1 - The pharmacy services provided are accessible to patients and the public
  • 4.2 - Pharmacy services are managed and delivered safely and effectively
  • 4.3 - Medicines and medical devices are: obtained from a reputable source; safe and fit for purpose; stored securely; safeguarded from unauthorized access; supplied to the patient safely; and disposed of safely and securely

Why this is notable practice

The pharmacy works proactively with GP surgeries to seek the best outcomes for people referred through the NHS GP Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS). Pharmacists apply their knowledge and expertise to assess whether a person would benefit most from an over-the-counter medicine or require a prescription medicine.

How the pharmacy did this

The pharmacy was fully committed to ensuring that the GP CPCS service was a success. A representative from the pharmacy spoke to local GP practice managers about the service. And the pharmacy engaged the help of their Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC) to investigate the software needed to facilitate the service. LPC members trained and mentored GP medical receptionists to use these IT systems. And pharmacy team members regularly contacted receptionists to provide advice, support and increase their confidence in making referrals to pharmacies. Pharmacists had also discussed treatment pathways with the GPs.

Once people had been referred, they attended a consultation with a pharmacist. The pharmacist used their clinical skills and experience as an independent prescriber to assess people’s needs. Some consultations had identified a need for a prescription only medicine (POM) to control symptoms of hay fever. And in these cases, the pharmacist had worked within their scope of practice to provide a prescription. This supported access to the medicine without the person needing to book an appointment with their GP. The pharmacist communicated all their prescribing decisions to the person’s GP.

What difference this made to patients

The collaborative working arrangements in place mean that people are able to seek help and guidance quickly and easily. And where they have the skills to do so, the pharmacist can support GP services to help people manage their health condition safely and appropriately.

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