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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Making effective changes to working patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic

Pharmacy type


Pharmacy context


Relevant standards

  • 4.2 - Pharmacy services are managed and delivered safely and effectively

Why this is notable practice

The pharmacy is managing its workload by accommodating the needs of its team members. And by introducing a change to its shift patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, team members feel valued and the daily workload is kept up to date.

How the pharmacy did this

The pharmacy had seen an increase in workload during the COVID-19 pandemic. It had engaged with team members and had listened to their needs in order to safely manage workload. This had led to a change in working patterns by introducing a late shift. One pharmacist and a dispenser started work later and continued working later in the evening after the pharmacy had closed. This had led to a marked increase in the efficiency of the dispensing service as there were less interruptions.

Team members working the late shift could process and begin workload associated with the electronic prescription service which was received in the afternoon and into the evening when the pharmacy was closed. This meant labels were prepared and stock was ordered ready for dispensing to be completed the following day. And where stock was available prescriptions were assembled, checked and ready for people to collect the following day.

The new working arrangements had benefitted the management of the pharmacy’s workload during a time of extreme pressure. It meant team members working during opening hours had more time to provide support and advice to people visiting the pharmacy. And the new working arrangements had also benefitted team members who were able to work at times which fitted in better with family life.

What difference this made to patients

People visiting the pharmacy benefit from a content and motivated pharmacy team. Their medicines are ready for them in a timely manner, even when their prescriptions are sent from the surgery late in the day.

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