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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Using telephone headsets to manage an increase in telephone calls

Pharmacy type


Pharmacy context


Relevant standards

  • 4.1 - The pharmacy services provided are accessible to patients and the public

Why this is notable practice

Pharmacy team members are wearing telephone headsets to help manage telephone calls during the COVID-19 pandemic. The headsets reduce the risks associated with sharing communal telephone handsets.

How the pharmacy did this

The pharmacy had seen a dramatic increase in the number of telephone calls it was receiving during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was due to people contacting the pharmacy rather than the doctor’s surgery to order repeat prescriptions and to obtain advice.

The pharmacy had reviewed the way its team members handled these calls to help reduce the risk of distractions during the dispensing process. And to limit the need for team members to share telephone equipment. Two full-time pharmacists wore telephone headsets with internal microphones. The headsets enabled the pharmacists to take calls in any part of the dispensary or consultation room. The pharmacists decided between themselves who would answer the incoming call dependent on what they were working on. This helped manage the risk of multi-tasking and allowed the rest of the pharmacy team to undertake other tasks without interruption.

What difference this made to patients

The increased capacity for answering telephone queries means people have quick access to the advice and support they require. The headsets reduce the risk of cross-infection between team members. And distractions from the phone ringing are reduced which increases the safety of the dispensing process.

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