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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Supporting vulnerable people requiring face-to-face consultations

Pharmacy type


Pharmacy context


Relevant standards

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

Why this is notable practice

The pharmacy is addressing the immediate needs of vulnerable people requiring face-to-face consultations within the constraints of social distancing.

How the pharmacy did this

A considerable part of the pharmacy’s work-load was clinical consultations and prescribing under a service level agreement with the NHS. But pharmacists were no longer routinely seeing people face-to-face for consultations. But they were assessing people’s needs when they made contact in person or by other means. And they were applying their professional judgement about people who needed face-to-face contact. The pharmacy had full personal protective equipment, including face visors available. This meant that pharmacists could protect themselves and other people when in a consultation room with people. They still maintained as much social distancing as possible during these consultations.

The people the pharmacists saw for a face-to-face consultation included vulnerable, anxious and lonely people. Examples of consultations included pharmacists chatting to people to assess their needs. This had resulted in paramedics being called and a person being admitted to hospital on one occasion with a non COVID-19 related condition. Without the face-to-face conversation, the seriousness of the situation may have been missed. Another person needed reassurance, which the pharmacist could provide. This would have not been so effective by phone. And it may have resulted in the person contacting other services. The pharmacy arranged for food shopping and safe transport home for this person.

What difference this made to patients

People who were vulnerable, anxious or upset are reassured. And those with medical conditions which may be masked by anxiety, receive appropriate help or signposting.

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