Inspections during the coronavirus pandemic

During the pandemic, we stopped our programme of routine pharmacy inspections. Instead, we focused on providing support to registered pharmacies on their arrangements and plans, to help manage pressures and challenges during the pandemic.

From April 2021, our inspectors did resume visiting pharmacies that had previously not met all the standards, as well as pharmacies newly entered onto the register. 

However, in the light of the current situation and to support the acceleration of the booster programme of vaccines, we have paused our routine inspection activity and will review our position in the New Year. 

Instead, our inspectors will continue to support pharmacies with the roll-out of the vaccination programme, providing support to pharmacies and signposting, to help ensure that the accelerated programme can be delivered safely and effectively.  

As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will continue to act quickly on any information we receive which suggests a risk to patient safety by undertaking intelligence-led inspections.

To make sure our inspection activity is carried out as safely as possible we have carried out a Risk reduction assessment for GPhC community pharmacy inspections. [PDF 446 KB] 

We have signed up to the Government's Covid-19 workplace testing scheme  and have produced some guidance on our approach to testing colleagues working in the office or carrying out inspections, and visitors to the office [PDF 179 KB]. 

Taking part in the testing programme is an important element of our strategy to:

  • limit the spread of coronavirus among our workforce and visitors to our offices
  • protect our workforce and service users during the pandemic.

Our testing programme focuses primarily on identifying positive asymptomatic cases - i.e. those who are carrying coronavirus but are not displaying any symptoms - among colleagues who are resuming on site working or visitors to our offices.