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 are resuming visiting pharmacies that had previously not met all the standards,  focusing on those pharmacies with published inspection reports where a six month re-inspection is due. Our inspectors are visiting these pharmacies to check whether they are meeting all the standards for registered pharmacies, and the inspector will produce a report for publication. We will also be inspecting pharmacies newly entered onto the register that have not previously been inspected.

During this period, we will be continuing with our support calls to pharmacies to discuss their contingency planning.

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.

We are currently reviewing what a more risk-based and proportionate routine inspection programme would look like, which will start later in the year.

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.