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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Supporting People taking Valproate

Pharmacy type


Pharmacy context

The pharmacy is next to a health centre, close to the centre of town. It dispenses mainly NHS prescriptions and sells a range of over-the-counter medicines. It dispenses some private prescriptions. The pharmacy provides a range of services including seasonal flu vaccinations and travel vaccinations, blood pressure monitoring and diabetes testing. The pharmacy supplies a few people’s medicines in multi-compartment compliance packs to help them take their medicines. It delivers medicines to people’s homes.

Relevant standards

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

Why this is notable practice

The pharmacy completes audits and has ongoing processes in place to monitor people taking valproate and ensure the requirements of the safety alert are met. The team has a good knowledge of what is required. And the pharmacy has records of the interventions the pharmacist has made for reference.

How the pharmacy did this

The pharmacy had completed several audits over a period of time to identify people taking valproate who may become pregnant. And then the pharmacist spoke with these people about their medicines and if appropriate the risks associated with taking the medicine during pregnancy. The pharmacy was completing an audit at the time of the inspection. On a previous audit they had identified a few people who could be at risk if they became pregnant whilst taking valproate. The pharmacist had discussed the requirements with these people to make sure no referral to the prescriber was necessary. And he made records on the patient medication record (PMR) of his interventions.

The pharmacist and pharmacy team members used ‘pharmacist advice’ stickers on prescriptions for valproate, to highlight to the team member at handout that the pharmacist would like to speak with the person. The pharmacist had recently dispensed a prescription for valproate and an oral contraceptive. And the original intervention record on the PMR was available for him to reference. The pharmacy had appropriate written materials from the manufacturer to give to people. And the pharmacist recognised the packs had a detachable warning card embedded in the packaging for people to use. This ensured they received a warning card on each dispensing. And the pharmacist ensured people received appropriate counselling.

What difference this made to patients

As the pharmacy has actioned the valproate safety alert people taking valproate understand the risks of taking their medicine if they become pregnant. And these people are protected by a pregnancy prevention programme if necessary. New people visiting the pharmacy are highlighted as the pharmacy conducts audits of people taking valproate.

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