The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has begun publishing pharmacy inspection reports on a new website, after getting the legal powers to do so and consulting on plans for publishing reports with patients and the public and the pharmacy sector. This major change for pharmacy will help to inform and assure the public about the standards they can expect from pharmacies and drive improvement in pharmacy services.
The new pharmacy inspections publication site has been designed so that members of the public can easily find and use information about pharmacies they use. They 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 and how well a pharmacy is performing against five principles.
Where a pharmacy has not met all the standards, an improvement action plan will also be published. Members of the public taking part in the consultation emphasised that they wanted to be able to see improvement action plans, so they could be assured that improvement was underway and be informed about what steps the pharmacy was taking to meet the standards and that this was being monitored.
Key facts about the new pharmacy inspections publication site:
- The new pharmacy inspections publication site features reports from inspections of pharmacies that have taken place since April 2019 and is updated on a daily basis with new reports.
- 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 new knowledge hub has been designed to highlight examples of excellent, good and poor practice for the key themes identified in the learning from inspections report, as well as examples for the standards that have a key role in driving performance and the standards that are most commonly found to be not met by pharmacies.
- 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, and to other regulators with a role in regulating healthcare services and medicines across Great Britain.
- 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.
- Our new website can be found here.
- You can read our report on learning from inspections here.
Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the GPhC, said:
“Publishing inspection reports for the first time is a significant milestone in pharmacy regulation and gives the public and the pharmacy sector access to a wealth of information that they can use to inform the decisions they make. We believe it will give greater assurance to patients and the public that almost all pharmacies are meeting standards, and that we make sure those pharmacies not meeting standards take the necessary steps to do so.
“We know from carrying out thousands of inspections that pharmacies will only perform well against the standards if pharmacy owners have made sure that their pharmacies have the right governance, systems and culture in place, and are investing in their staff. Once these elements are in place, the pharmacy staff then are able to deliver good and excellent practice for the patients and the public using their services.”
Jasmine Shah, Head of Advice and Support Services at the NPA said:
“This brings pharmacy into line with most other public services and public expectations. Patients now have access to more information to help them make informed choices about their pharmaceutical care.
“It’s encouraging that nine in 10 pharmacies met all the standards set by the regulator. Most of the pharmacies rated excellent since 2013 are independent pharmacies, which indicates that independents are prepared to go the extra mile to provide great service to their patients. What we would like to see is consistently high-quality care in all pharmacies.
“The GPhC analysis shows that investing in staff is a key driver of performance against the standards. The NPA offers flexible learning options to suit training needs.”
The President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Sandra Gidley said:
“Publishing inspection reports is a vital step to protecting the public and ensuring an accurate picture of pharmacy practice. The website and the overall analysis report provide welcome transparency on how well pharmacies are performing. The good news is that the vast majority (over 85%) meet all the inspection standards. The improvement action plans for those not meeting the standards support pharmacy teams to change their practice and bring reassurance to the public that steps are being taken to address any shortfalls.
“The impact of good governance and systems on effective service provision couldn’t be clearer from this report. Pharmacists often work under enormous pressure made worse by system failures and end up taking personal responsibility for things beyond their control. This is a huge cause of workplace stress and a barrier to best practice. Pharmacists want to work in good pharmacies, with good systems and culture and these inspection reports will help with this. Improving governance, investing in staff and great leadership will reduce workplace stresses and barriers to best practice.
“The regulator’s report demonstrates that the public are receiving services of a consistent standard. The website’s knowledge hub for pharmacy professionals will also encourage the sharing of good practice and improve outcomes for patients. The RPS is here to help support pharmacists.”