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GPhC makes pharmacy inspection reports public for the first time

Pharmacies’ inspection reports and outcomes are now available for the public to view on a new General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) website.

The website – which went live today (September 17) – contains reports from inspections of pharmacies that have taken place since the GPhC’s changes to its inspection model came into force in April this year.

It is the first time the public has been able to see whether pharmacies have met all the GPhC’s standards and how well a pharmacy is performing against the regulator’s five principles: governance arrangements; empowered and competent staff; managing pharmacy premises; delivering pharmacy services; and equipment and facilities.

The website also includes a “knowledge hub”, where pharmacy teams can find short, anonymised examples of excellent, good and poor practice identified in inspections, the GPhC said.

Majority of pharmacies perform well

The GPhC's analysis of 14,650 inspections that took place between November 2013 and August 2018 – published to coincide with the website launch – revealed that 85.2% of pharmacies inspected met all of its standards for registered pharmacies.

“Principle one – governance – was consistently demonstrated to be the principle with the strongest influence on good and poor overall pharmacy performance,” the GPhC said.

Pharmacies located in hospitals, part of a larger pharmacy chain or in a rural location were more likely to be rated as “good”, it added.

While community pharmacies, particularly single independent pharmacies or branches of a small chain, were more likely to fail to meet one or more of the standards, all six of the pharmacies rated “excellent” were community pharmacies, the regulator said.

Four of these were single independent pharmacies, or part of a chain of between two and five branches, “indicating that smaller community pharmacies are also able to demonstrate excellent performance”, the GPhC said.

Meeting public expectations

Jasmine Shah, head of advice and support services at the National Pharmacy Association, said making inspection reports available publicly “brings pharmacy into line with most other public services and public expectations”.

The GPhC’s analysis of previous inspection reports “indicates that independents are prepared to go the extra mile to provide great service to their patients”, she added. “What we would like to see is consistently high quality care in all pharmacies.”

Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the Company Chemists’ Association, welcomed “the move towards a more flexible and responsive regulatory approach, especially as the delivery of pharmacy services evolves”.

“Transparency around inspection results will give patients the information they need to make an informed choice about which community pharmacy they use and drive quality improvement among contractors,” he added.

Commenting on the analysis, Royal Pharmaceutical Society president Sandra Gidley said: “The impact of good governance and systems on effective service provision couldn’t be clearer.

“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,” she added.

“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.”

Has your pharmacy been inspected under the GPhC's new model?

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