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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Safeguarding vulnerable patients

Pharmacy type


Pharmacy context

​This was a community pharmacy close to a GP practice in a town with a population of 50,000 of which the pharmacy served around 10,000. It had recently had a complete refit and was dispensing around 12,000 NHS items each month. The NHS items included supply to around 350 patients in monitored dose devices. Dispensing was highly automated using 2 robots. Other NHS services provided were the standard Scottish pharmacy contract services – CMS, eMAS, smoking cessation and the gluten free food prescribing service. A substance misuse service was provided An extensive range of other services were delivered including independent prescribing for respiratory conditions, pain management common clinical conditions.

Relevant standards

  • 1.8 - Children and vulnerable adults are safeguarded

Why this is notable practice

Arrangements for safeguarding vulnerable patients ensure that their health safety and well-being is protected through appropriate treatment or referral to more appropriate services.

How the pharmacy did this

There was high level of awareness of safeguarding with all staff members having read and signed procedures, the drivers and pharmacists and drivers were PVG registered and local information and contact details were available to raise concerns. One patient had discussed her loneliness with the driver, resulting in a social worker being contacted who addressed the concern. A further example included a patient who did not answer the door, so the next of kin was contacted who attended. During the inspection one methadone patient presented at the pharmacy under the influence of alcohol. The supply was refused in a calm and professional manner and she was given good quality advice and asked to return sometime later in the afternoon, which she did, and 2 pharmacists assessed her before supplying her with her methadone instalment. This ensured that she got the required medicine in a safe manner.

What difference this made to patients

Vulnerable patients have their safety and well being safeguarded as staff are well informed about the mechanisms in place to ensure their needs are met.

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