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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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The use of technology to enhance the efficiency and safety of delivery services.

Pharmacy type


Pharmacy context

This is an NHS community pharmacy set on a main road. The pharmacy is part of a small chain of pharmacies. It dispenses people's prescriptions. And it sells a range of health and beauty products, including some over-the-counter medicines. The pharmacy provides multi-compartment compliance packs to some people who need help managing their medicines. And it delivers medicines to people who can’t attend its premises in person.

Relevant standards

  • 1.1 - The risks associated with providing pharmacy services are identified and managed
  • 4.2 - Pharmacy services are managed and delivered safely and effectively
  • 4.3 - Medicines and medical devices are: obtained from a reputable source; safe and fit for purpose; stored securely; safeguarded from unauthorized access; supplied to the patient safely; and disposed of safely and securely

Why this is notable practice

The pharmacy uses technology to enhance the safety and efficiency of its delivery service. The technology helps the delivery driver to prioritise the pharmacy’s deliveries while also finding the most efficient route to use. And the technology keeps the pharmacy team up to date with the status of each delivery.

How the pharmacy did this

The pharmacy used an electronic delivery software application. The application allowed the team to transfer information between the pharmacy’s computer system and the delivery team’s mobile devices. It had allowed the team in the pharmacy and the delivery team to access and update the information in real-time. Prior to the deliveries leaving the pharmacy, the pharmacy team uploaded the delivery details into the system. Each delivery was assigned a barcode and the delivery team member scanned the barcode when they collected, delivered or returned a prescription. The application helped prioritise urgent deliveries and identified the most efficient route for the delivery team member to take. It also had real-time traffic updates to assist the route planning process during a delivery cycle. The pharmacy team had used the application to determine where a person’s prescription was. And it had provided them with an estimated time slot for when their medicines would arrive. The pharmacy team had also provided people with a reference number for them to track where their delivery was too.

The pharmacy’s delivery vehicle was fitted with tracking technology that told the team where it was and when it was there. The tracking technology also informed the team when its doors had been locked or unlocked. And when its ignition had been switched on or off. This had allowed the pharmacy to monitor the security of the vehicle at any given time. The vehicle also had technology to monitor its temperature. This allowed the pharmacy to make sure the medicines and medical devices it delivered to people were stored appropriately in transport.

What difference this made to patients

People’s medicines are delivered to them efficiently and safely. During the delivery process their medicines are stored appropriately and kept secure. And the pharmacy team can tell them where the delivery is and when to expect it.

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