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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Reviewing and updating business continuity arrangements

Pharmacy type

Community

Pharmacy context

​COVID-19

Relevant standards

  • 1.1 - The risks associated with providing pharmacy services are identified and managed

Why this is notable practice

The pharmacy has learned from experience that, as a small business, it is vital to have a robust business continuity plan in place. The latest review of its existing plan ensures it is flexible enough to secure the safe and effective running of the pharmacy. Particularly where, at short notice, the regular pharmacist has to be away from the pharmacy for an extended period of time.

How the pharmacy did this

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the regular, long term pharmacist had to take leave unexpectedly and consequently was out of the business for several weeks. While he had secured adequate locum cover and the team had worked extremely hard to manage the workload, he found that the day to day management of the pharmacy had suffered, leaving various issues which had taken some time to resolve on his return, including stock management for both over-the-counter and prescription medicines.

The pharmacist had reflected on the events and acted by reviewing and updating the pharmacy’s business continuity plan. And had 'buddied up' with another independent pharmacy locally with an agreement to support one another if one pharmacy had problems either with staff or if they had to close. This included an agreement, with patients’ consent, to dispense prescriptions at either pharmacy if necessary. The pharmacist had also provided additional training and support for staff. And had built up a new cohort of locums which he hoped to use regularly to familiarise them with the running of the business.

What difference this made to patients

Risks posed by disruptions to the pharmacy’s management are mitigated. This means people can continue to obtain their medicines without delay and access other pharmacy services when the regular pharmacist is unexpectedly absent.

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