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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Simply Meds Online (9010764)

Inspection outcome: Standards not all met

Last inspection: 12/11/2020

Improvement action plan View enforcement action (PDF 138.4KB)



Pharmacy context

The pharmacy provides services to people through its two websites. People cannot visit the pharmacy in person. The pharmacy operates an online prescribing service and supplies medicines for a wide range of conditions against the prescriptions it issues. The pharmacy also sells a range of over-the-counter medicines and dispenses some NHS prescriptions. This was a targeted inspection as information was received showing that the pharmacy had been obtaining unusually large quantities of codeine linctus. The pharmacy is owned by a company and one of the directors is a pharmacist. He was present during the inspection. The pharmacy also has a Wholesale Dealer Licence through the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The inspection was carried out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inspection summary findings

Principle 1. Governance

Standards not all met

The pharmacy does not identify and manage all the risks associated with the services it provides. It does not control the sales of over-the-counter medicines that are liable to abuse adequately. It has put some restrictions in place to control sales of these medicines but the volumes of these sales remains high. And there is evidence that processes to refuse some sales do not always work in practice. The pharmacy cannot show that its prescribing service is managed effectively. The pharmacy keeps some clinical records for its prescribing service, but these are very limited in scope and don’t generally contain information to justify the prescribing decision. And the pharmacy doesn’t have robust systems in place to monitor and review its prescribing service. ​​​​​

Principle 2. Staff

Standards met

The pharmacy has enough team members to manage its workload safely. They are appropriately trained and have a good understanding about their roles and responsibilities. They can make suggestions to improve safety and workflows where appropriate. ​

Principle 3. Premises

Standards not all met

The way the pharmacy’s website is arranged increases the risks that people are supplied with medicines that are not suitable for them. The website allows people to select a prescription only medicine, its strength and quantity before starting a consultation. And people can change their answers during a consultation and this information is not visible to the prescriber. However, the pharmacy team keeps the pharmacy secure, clean and tidy. And the pharmacist has an area to check prescriptions and this is kept organised to help reduce the risk of mistakes. ​

Principle 4. Services, including medicines management

Standards not all met

The pharmacy cannot show that its prescribing service always protects people's health and wellbeing. It doesn't routinely share information about its prescribed treatments with other healthcare professionals involved in a person's care, even where consent has been given to do so. People can change answers to the questions on the consultation questionnaire and these changes are not visible to the prescriber. So, people may be able to obtain medication which is not appropriate for their condition. And the prescriber does not make suitable records about their prescribing decisions.  This includes medicines requiring additional monitoring such as asthma inhalers and antibiotics. The pharmacy’s processes for managing the supplies of some over-the-counter medicines pharmacy do not always ensure that these medicines are supplied safely.  ​

Principle 5. Equipment and facilities

Standards met

The pharmacy has the equipment it needs for its services and largely maintains it well​. The pharmacy uses its equipment to help protect people's personal information.

Pharmacy details

Unit K2, Beckingham Business Park
Beckingham Street
Tolleshunt Major

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What do the inspection outcomes mean?

After an inspection each pharmacy receives one overall outcome. This will be either Standards met or Standards not all met

Met The pharmacy has met all the standards for registered pharmacies
Not all met The pharmacy has not met one or more of the standards for registered pharmacies

What does 'pharmacy has not met all standards' mean?

When a pharmacy has not met all standards, they are required to complete an improvement action plan, which you can find via a link at the top left of this page. We monitor progress to check the improvements are made and inspect again after six months to make sure the pharmacy is maintaining these improvements. A new report will then be published.