The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has announced a move towards unannounced premises inspections. Rachel Carter gives some top tips on how to come out on top - whenever the inspector calls


1. Check your standard operating procedures are up-to-date

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are a key area that an inspector will review. Make sure you can provide evidence that your procedures reflect current practice and ensure all team members understand what their role and responsibilities are within the pharmacy. Be ready to provide evidence of your team’s adherence to the SOPs as well.

2. Make sure the responsible pharmacist register is accurate.

Every pharmacy business must appoint a registered pharmacist as the responsible pharmacist to be in charge. Make sure the name you’ve put on the register is up-to-date and you’ve got a notice displaying the details of who it is somewhere in the pharmacy.


3. Have your complaints procedure on display.

Members of the public should be able to raise concerns and feedback with the pharmacy where they feel it’s appropriate, so make sure you have a relevant complaints procedure on display with a staff contact. Any feedback collected through patient surveys and evidence of action taken should also be available for viewing.


4. Are you managing patient information appropriately?

Pharmacies must ensure that the information they use is kept in a way that protects the privacy, dignity and confidentiality of patients. Check that prescription bag labels and computer screens are not visible to the public, be able to provide evidence of safe storage and disposal of records and ensure everyone has a protected patient mediciation record (PMR) password.


5. Check the pharmacy’s controlled drugs records.

Ensure that the controlled drug destruction register is up-to-date and that weekly controlled drug balance checks are being performed.


6. Evidence how you are keeping patients safe.

Check that any evidence of near misses - whether that be errors identified within the pharmacy or errors that have left the pharmacy - are being recorded in your ‘near miss log’. This should be reviewed on a regular and you should be able to demonstrate that appropriate measures are being taken to minimise or mitigate any errors.


7. Get your housekeeping in order and keep it in order.

Make sure your filing system is well organised and brief key members in your pharmacy team so they know where to find important information sources on the day.


8. Do a ‘dry-run’ with the pharmacy team.

The criteria pharmacies are assessed against during inspections is available, so spend an hour one day or an evening - whatever it takes - to work through it and self-assess yourself.