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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Monitoring of medication to ensure it is safe to use

Pharmacy type

Community

Pharmacy context

A high street pharmacy serving a mixed local population. The pharmacy dispenses approximately 7,000 items a month and, as well as the NHS Essential Service, provides medicine use reviews (MURs), new medicines services (NMS), Influenza vaccine (private and NHS), Monitored Dosage System (MDS) trays, a delivery service, Emergency Hormonal Contraceptive, substance misuse treatments, Malaria prophylaxis (online prescriptions) and smoking cessation.

Relevant standards

  • 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

Robust procedures are in place for date checking of medicines and handling of short-dated controlled drugs (CDs) to prevent unsafe medicines being dispensed.

How the pharmacy did this

Stock in the dispensary was date checked in sections every week and a matrix signed and dated by staff to confirm this. The pharmacist checked the matrix at the end of every month and signed off the weekly audit sheet to ensure it had been completed. Short dated stock was listed and highlighted with a ‘caution – short dated stock’ sticker. No out of dates were found during the inspection. To minimise quantity errors, opened stock was clearly marked on all sides to alert staff while dispensing. Open dates were written on liquids with a limited shelf life. There were 3 CD cabinets available, one was used to store Methadone, another for dispensed CDs and the third cabinet was used for other stock; this minimised the risk of supplying an incorrect item. Short dated stock was listed on a sheet and displayed inside the CD cabinet. ‘Must collect before’ date stickers were placed on dispensed CDs to reduce the risk of handing out items beyond the prescription validity.

What difference this made to patients

Robust procedures are in place for date checking of medicines and handling of short-dated controlled drugs (CDs) to prevent unsafe medicines being dispensed.

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