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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Using video calls to improve access to private consultations for people during the pandemic

Pharmacy type


Pharmacy context


Relevant standards

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

Why this is notable practice

The pharmacy adapts its way of working during the pandemic to continue to safely provide its services for people. It is conducting video consultations for a number of its services, including the provision of emergency hormonal contraception. This minimises direct contact with people to help prevent the risk of spreading infection and maintains people's privacy. In addition, the visual clues provided through video consultations often enables the pharmacist to better help people and provide appropriate advice.

How the pharmacy did this

The pharmacy had installed new software which allowed the pharmacist to hold remote video consultations. The pharmacist usually sat down with the person in the consultation room if the matter was sensitive or confidential but due to the pandemic it had not always been appropriate to have a consultation with someone in such close proximity.

People that visited or telephoned the pharmacy for advice of a sensitive or confidential nature were informed that they could be contacted by the pharmacist on a video call. Team members explained the service to people before they made a video call appointment to ensure they understood the technology and were happy to proceed. The team sent an email to the person before they received the call which included details about consent and confidentiality.

The pharmacist had used the service successfully for the provision of emergency hormonal contraception, and advice about skin disorders and eye infections. And had referred people to their GP when required.

What difference this made to patients

People receive the advice and care they need without having to come into close proximity with the pharmacist during a consultation. And they can have a consultation with the pharmacist, in private, while minimising the time spent in the pharmacy.

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