More than 8,150 pharmacies have been inspected by the regulator between November 2013 – when it introduced its new approach to inspections – and September 9, 2016.
However, only four of these achieved the top rating, according to information obtained by a pharmacy contractor under a freedom of information request.
Of the remainder, 17% (1,396) were rated ‘good’, 77% (6,316) were rated ‘satisfactory’ and just 5% (443) were rated 'poor', according to the information, seen by C+D.
Despite the inspections being carried out by 39 different inspectors, three of the four ‘excellent’ ratings were handed out by one individual. The GPhC argued that revealing the names of any of the inspectors would be a breach of the Data Protection Act.
The contractor who requested the inspection information – and wishes to remain anonymous – told C+D they were prompted to do so by the “difference in [inspection] results for my branches”.
“We all have the same standard operating procedures, support team etc, and yet we have had ‘poor’ and ‘good’,” they said.
“I know it could be due to individual pharmacists and team members on the day, but I would have at least expected that they would be about the same.”
“Also, the process varies, with some pharmacists telling me that some inspectors spend an hour [at the pharmacy], and others [spend] four hours,” the contractor added.
‘Excellent’ rating reserved for small number of pharmacies
Commenting on the findings, the GPhC told C+D that it never intended for large numbers of pharmacies to receive the top rating. See below to understand how the GPhC decides on this criteria.
The first pharmacy to receive an ‘excellent’ rating was Wicker Pharmacy in Sheffield. Read how they won the C+D Award for Pharmacy Team of the Year 2015 here.