Pharmacy inspection reports and learning from inspections now published online

19 September 2019

We have begun publishing pharmacy inspection reports on a new website after consulting on plans with patients and the public and the pharmacy sector.

The new pharmacy inspections publication site has been designed so that you can easily find and use information from pharmacy inspections, including by searching across all reports. This will enable you to easily focus on particular areas you may be interested in, such as identifying and managing risks, and to quickly learn from what others have done well and not so well.  

You will be able to see if a pharmacy that has been inspected since April 2019 has met or has not met all of the standards for registered pharmacies [PDF 986 KB] and how well a pharmacy is performing against five principles. The website is updated daily with reports from our inspections. 

The new site also features an online ‘knowledge hub’ for the whole pharmacy team, with short anonymised examples of excellent, good and poor practice identified through pharmacy inspections.  On the knowledge hub you can quickly find examples relevant for you at any time and it will be regularly updated with new examples. We would encourage you to use it regularly to learn from others and to improve outcomes for patients and the public using your services. 

Learning from inspection:

We have also published a new report sharing what we have learnt from carrying out over 14,000 inspections covering every pharmacy in Great Britain since 2013.

These inspections were carried out under our previous approach to inspections, in which pharmacies received one of four possible ratings; excellent, good, satisfactory or poor. This analysis shows that the vast majority of pharmacies (over 85%) met all of the standards we set. 

The analysis also identified some key themes, patterns and trends which every pharmacy and pharmacy team can use to improve. Six standards, including the standards on managing risks, reviewing the safety and quality of pharmacy services and safe and effective service delivery, were identified as having the strongest influence on the pharmacy’s performance - so when these were found to be good or poor, the pharmacy was also more likely to be good or poor overall. 

The vast majority of the registered pharmacies inspected were community pharmacies (97.5%), with hospital pharmacies representing 2.4% of those inspected. The analysis identified that pharmacies with particular characteristics, including being in a hospital, being part of a larger pharmacy chain or being in a rural location, were more commonly rated as good. 

Community pharmacies, and particularly single independent pharmacies or ones that were part of a small chain, were more commonly in the smaller group of pharmacies that did not meet one or more standards. However all six pharmacies with an overall rating of excellent were community pharmacies, and four of the six were single independent pharmacies or part of a chain of between 2 to 5 branches, indicating that smaller community pharmacies are also able to demonstrate excellent performance. 

Some key facts about the new pharmacy inspections publication site:

  • Users can search for pharmacy inspection reports by postcode, street, town or pharmacy name
  • Users can also search across all inspection reports using different criteria to find reports most relevant to them
  • The site includes links to NHS UK, NHS Inform and NHS Direct Wales, so people can find out further information about a pharmacy’s services and opening times
  • The knowledge hub provides 24/7 access to examples of excellent, good and poor practice in pharmacy for the pharmacy team 
  • A pharmacy’s entry on the pharmacy register will show if a pharmacy has a published report and link to that report. The pharmacy’s profile page on the new inspections publication site also links to its entry on the register
  • The homepage of the new pharmacy inspections publication site includes a link to a page displaying the inspection reports published in the last 28 days.

Please come and see us at our stand at the Pharmacy Show on 6 to 7 October 2019 to find out more, including about new resources to help patients and the public know what they can expect when using pharmacy services.