This website uses cookies to help you make the most of your visit.
By continuing to browse without changing your settings, you agree to our use of cookies.
Give me more information

Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

Skip to Content (Press Enter)

Using the pharmacy's business continuity plan to support people's access to medicines in severe weather

Pharmacy type


Pharmacy context

Thisis a community pharmacy on a high street in a rural town. The pharmacydispenses NHS prescriptions. And it delivers medicines to people’s homes. The regularpharmacist is a pharmacist independent prescriber (PIP) and delivers the NHS ScotlandPharmacy First Plus service to treat common conditions.

Relevant standards

  • 1.1 - The risks associated with providing pharmacy services are identified and managed
  • 1.8 - Children and vulnerable adults are safeguarded
  • 4.1 - The pharmacy services provided are accessible to patients and the public

Why this is notable practice

There is a proactive and patient-centred approach to business continuity planning that ensures people have access to pharmacy services during periods of adverse weather. The pharmacy team proactively uses its pharmacist’s prescribing skills to help people access their medicines. And it engages well with other health care professionals and the local health board to help support people’s needs during an emergency.

How the pharmacy did this

The pharmacy team and superintendent pharmacist (SI) were aware of an adverse ‘red’ weather warning issued for the area which was expected to be in place for three days. They were aware that people who used the pharmacy were being evacuated from their homes as a precautionary measure.

The SI reviewed the pharmacy’s staffing levels, and residential location of employees in line with the business continuity plan. Those who lived outside of the local area were offered accommodation near to the pharmacy. This ensured they would could reach the pharmacy when the severe weather arrived. The SI also sourced additional pharmacist cover, one of whom was a pharmacist independent prescriber (PIP).

The pharmacy team contacted people who were due to collect their medicines during the period of adverse weather to advise them to collect their medicines as soon as possible. And it offered a delivery service for those people unable to visit the pharmacy. The pharmacy worked with its local health board so it could complete individual risk assessments for people due to collect medicines through its substance misuse service. This supported it in providing enough medicine, where deemed appropriate, for the period of severe weather.

During the adverse weather event, more people were evacuated from their homes to a central rescue centre at short notice. This meant some people did not have access to their medicines. The PIP consulted with the GP practice and the local health board and agreed temporary arrangements to allow them to use skills to prescribe to these people. The PIP and a pharmacy technician visited the rescue centre and held consultations with people who needed medicines. The PIP prescribed medicines and the pharmacy dispensed and delivered the prescriptions back to the rescue centre for people. Following the events, the pharmacy team continued to provide mental health support to those affected by the adverse weather event and team members signposted people to local services and charities where appropriate.

What difference this made to patients

A proactive and structured approach to business continuity planning means the pharmacy meets people’s ongoing health needs during difficult times. It works well in partnership with other health care professionals which means prescribing pharmacists use their clinical skills to support people’s needs. And the team offers reassurance to people during a period of worry and uncertainty through providing safe and consistent care.

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