Boots online pharmacy among worst-performing in UK as 108 are mapped
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The NHS is under some of the most intense pressure it has faced in its 75-year history.
More working days were lost to sickness or injury in 2022 than any other year on record, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – with minor illnesses the most common reason given.
For many months now, Health Secretary Steve Barclay has been keen to emphasise the role community pharmacists can play in alleviating the crisis within the health service.
At latest count, there were some 11,500 registered pharmacies in Great Britain, all of which are regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) who routinely carry out inspections.
In the last 12 months, a total of 108 high street drugstores were found not to be meeting all the standards set – search our map below to see if yours is among them.
READ MORE: Full list of Lloyds Pharmacy sites closing in the next few months
The standards registered pharmacies must meet can be summarised into five principles:
Governance: The pharmacy must be managed safely and effectively.
Staff: The staff working in the pharmacy must be competent and empowered to do their roles.
Premises: The pharmacy premises must be appropriate to provide pharmacy services.
Services: The pharmacy must supply medicines and provide other services safely and effectively.
Equipment and facilities: The pharmacy’s equipment and facilities must be safe and effective.
Since 2019, inspection reports have been published on the GPhC website for transparency. Of the 52 uploaded in the last 28 days, 42 pharmacies were found to have met all the above standards, and nine had not.
The most recent of these was Dalton Square Pharmacy in Lancaster, which came up short on the first criteria. The report noted it “did not have appropriate indemnity arrangements in place to provide protection to people who use its services” and that while it kept its records appropriately, these were “not regularly reviewed”.
Dalton Square Pharmacy – like all others who are found to be lacking in some area – was required to submit an “improvement action plan”, and will be inspected again in six months.
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Not all of the pharmacies on the map are to be found on the high street – 35 are internet pharmacies, with their location being represented by distribution centres. They include Boots online pharmacy.
The popular site was pulled up because it allows users in some cases to choose their preferred medicine prior to starting a consultation, which is against guidance. This was also an issue for LloydsPharmacy’s website.
Late last year, the Health Secretary suggested a “Pharmacy First” model would allow pharmacists “to make better use” of their skills and drastically improve patients’ access to general practice.
GPs are on the front line of the NHS’s present woes, with satisfaction scores plummeting from 68 to 38 percent between 2019 and 2021, according to the British Social Attitudes Survey – a steeper decline than any other branch of the healthcare system.
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