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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Medicines and patient identifiable information exposed to unauthorised access.

Pharmacy type


Pharmacy context

The pharmacy is in a retail store the centre of a pedestrianised shopping area. The pharmacy team dispense approximately 1800 NHS prescription items and 30 private prescriptions per month and offer services including medicines use reviews (MUR), the NHS New Medicines Service(NMS) and travel health vaccinations via private patient group direction (PGD). They provide a minor ailments service, emergency contraception via NHS PGD, erectile dysfunction treatment via private PGD and, the pharmacy provide monitored dosage systems (MDS), needle exchange and stop smoking advice.

Relevant standards

  • 3.4 - Premises are secure and safeguarded from unauthorized access
  • 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
  • 5.2 - Equipment and facilities are: obtained from a reputable source; safe and fit for purpose; stored securely; safeguarded from unauthorized access; and appropriately maintained
  • 5.3 - Equipment and facilities are used in a way that protects the privacy and dignity of the patients and the public who receive pharmacy services

Why this is poor practice

The pharmacy stores its medicines and confidential information in areas that are not secure or safeguarded from unauthorised access.

What the shortcomings are

People accessed the pharmacy from the street through the general store. There were times during the week when the store was open but the pharmacy, at the back of the store, was closed. The store was protected by CCTV, but the cameras were not used to cover any areas of the pharmacy. There was a retractable tape that stopped people from accessing the area behind the pharmacy counter. However, the tape was broken and could not be used. P medicines, including some controlled drugs, were kept in drawers under the counter that were not locked. There was a gate that stopped people from accessing the dispensary with a key code lock, but the lock on the gate was broken and the latch on the inside of the gate could be reached from the outside. There was confidential information, including prescriptions, being kept in the dispensary that were clearly visible and easy to access from the area at the counter. The pharmacy had two consultation rooms that were elsewhere in the store. They could not be seen from the pharmacy area and were they were not locked, despite being used to store confidential information.

What improvements are required

The pharmacy needs to prevent unauthorised access to medicines and confidential information. This includes times when the general store is open but the pharmacy is closed. The pharmacy owner is required to maintain the necessary equipment to help the pharmacy team achieve this.

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