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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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The dispensary size is inadequate for the services provided

Pharmacy type


Pharmacy context

This is a community pharmacy in the town centre. It has recently relocated. And it is now on the same side of the road as the main surgery. The pharmacy dispenses NHS prescriptions and sells over-the-counter medicines. It provides a substance misuse service. And supplies medicines in multi-compartment compliance packs to help people take their medicines.

Relevant standards

  • 3.1 - Premises are safe, clean, properly maintained and suitable for the pharmacy services provided

Why this is poor practice

The layout of the pharmacy does not allow for the safe delivery of pharmacy services. And there is an increased risk of errors happening. The dispensary work benches are cluttered. And the team use the floor to store stock and baskets of assembled medicines waiting to be checked.

What the shortcomings are

The dispensary was small, with an island in the middle. It was difficult for the team members to pass each other without knocking items on the dispensary shelves. There were two sections in the dispensary which contained Pharmacy (P) medicines, this further limited space for dispensary stock. And there was a risk that medicines could fall into baskets of assembled medicines which were placed on the floor underneath these shelves.

The pharmacy team members had limited bench space for dispensing. Once they had assembled items into baskets, these were generally stacked on the floor for checking. The pharmacist had made an extra work surface by stacking some delivery tote boxes on top of each other. And the team put some baskets of assembled medicines for checking on top of the make-shift work area. This further increased the risk of baskets being knocked off while team members worked.

Tote boxes were also being used to support the delivery service. Team members placed these on the stair way, blocking part of the stairs. This increased the risk of trip hazards. The stairway was regularly accessed due to a stock room, a second dispensary and fridges being located on the first-floor level of the building.

What improvements are required

The use of space throughout the premises and the dispensary layout requires urgent review. There is a need to ensure sufficient shelf space for stock is provided. And a need to improve available bench space, to allow the team to work safely.

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