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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Investing time in learning and development to support the delivery of pharmacy services

Pharmacy type


Pharmacy context


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 uses time released by a shift in workload during the COVID-19 pandemic to further support the learning and development of its team members. The pharmacy plans to use the team members' new skills to introduce services, when they can resume safely.

How the pharmacy did this

The pharmacy was extremely busy with increased dispensing volume at the start of the pandemic. It also ran a busy travel clinic, but this had stopped due to people not travelling and with infection control in mind.

After the initial busy period at the beginning of the pandemic, the pharmacy was quieter than usual. The team used this time to upskill through training and development. The pharmacy technician worked to complete her accuracy checking qualification and had qualified as an accredited checking technician (ACT). And the pharmacist completed his independent prescribing qualification.

The pharmacy also spoke to its local GP practice about how these qualifications would benefit people and could support the practice’s workload. This meant there was clarity and understanding within the two organisations.

The pharmacist planned to use his qualification to prescribe for common clinical conditions, in line with Scottish Government strategy and funding (Pharmacy First Plus service.) This service provided instant access to advice and greater treatment options for people while relieving some of the burden from GP practices. And there was evidence this would be beneficial in the area. For example, the area was popular with walkers who often presented with infected insect bite wounds.

The pharmacy recognised people would be resuming foreign travel. And it had a vaccination contract in place with an international emergency service. It used time during the pandemic to plan how it would re-implement the travel health service to support timely access to immunisation. For example, the pharmacy team developed a process to enable the ACT to undertake accuracy checking safely, with robust audit trails in place to identify accountability. This would free up pharmacist time for the vaccination service.

What difference this made to patients

The pharmacy is committed to developing the skills of its team members. It does so by reviewing how enhanced skills can help deliver person centred care. The pharmacy works proactively with other healthcare professionals to help ease the pressure on local GP services. This helps to ensure people in the local community can access healthcare services in a timely and convenient manner.

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