Some points to ponder

It has been requested that a newsletter article be written reminding pharmacists of what the Pharmacy Council Inspector is looking for when visiting pharmacies in New South Wales

The Council Inspector provides this brief but hopefully helpful summary.

Proprietor(s)’ name(s), as shown in the Register of Pharmacies maintained by the Pharmacy Council of New South Wales, must be displayed at the main entrance to the pharmacy.

The name of the Pharmacist-in-Charge, as shown in the Register of Pharmacist maintained by Ahpra, must be displayed at or near the dispensary area. There can only be one pharmacist-in-charge at any time and that person must be present at the time and must be registered as a practising pharmacist which means that the person holds current professional indemnity insurance and has completed the required Continuing Professional Development up to the end of September prior to that registration.

There is a requirement to be able to show all the listed equipment which must be fit for purpose.

You must be able to show that access is available to current editions of the required publications.

You need to be able to show the inspector that the premises meet the Health Practitioner legislation in regard to,

  • Public access
  • Security of the premises
  • The dispensary being at least 8 sqm
  • The dispensing bench being at least 1 sqm

An available confidential counselling area in the pharmacy, which is not to be confused with an Associated Professional Services Room as defined in the legislation and which is an offsite facility where medication dosage units are packed for patients of the pharmacy or of a facility serviced by the pharmacy.

  • Adequate lighting and ventilation.
  • Adequate heating facilities for use in the extemporaneous preparation of products.
  • A stainless-steel sink fitted with hot and cold running water which should not be construed that the pharmacist can run through the dispensary with a jug of hot water.
  • An operative barcode scanner for each dispensing station. Although, not specifically required by the legislation that these be used, don’t even consider that this provides an “out” from using this dispensing tool because if a mistake is made in this case you may well have a complaint of unprofessional conduct raised against you for lack of care, skill or knowledge. The inspector is also well aware that barcodes are not created for all dispensed products, and this is taken into account when the statistics for barcoding on dispensing labels and pharmacy packaging are reviewed.

In addition to the previous items, your inspector, as a service to his customers, also reminds them of certain requirements under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods legislation including

  • Reviewing the pharmacy dispensing label to check that the requirements of Appendix A are in place and that the name of the pharmacy shown on it matches the name of the pharmacy on the Register of Pharmacies maintained by the Pharmacy Council of New South Wales.
  • Correct storage of Schedule 3 medicines – in a room or enclosure to which the public does not have access (same storage requirements as apply to restricted substances Schedule 4). That S3Rs (as they are known) when supplied other than on prescription, are being recorded in an approved system.
  • That the storage of Schedule 8 (Drugs of Addiction/Controlled Drugs) complies with the requirements of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods legislation, that is, the methadone bulk is NOT left on the bench with the prepared takeaway doses, the key is NOT in the safe door and, if a combination lock, the door is NOT propped open.