Approved particulars – premises

The below outlines the requirements to fulfil paragraph 28 (2) (g) of Schedule 4 Part 4 to the National Health Service (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013 (as amended).

Approved particulars

This part of the terms of service requires pharmacy contractors to have a premises standards programme as part of their system of clinical governance. This premises standards programme must include the contractor’s arrangements for compliance with any approved particulars, which have to be designed to ensure, in a proportionate manner, that the parts of the premises used for the provision of NHS healthcare are an appropriate environment within which to receive that healthcare. 

The parts of the premises from which NHS services are provided must be recognisable to patients as premises from which high quality NHS services are available, should be generally clean and look professional, and literature on health and social care issues that is available should be up to date. Patients should be able to easily identify areas used for NHS healthcare, for example the prescription reception area and confidential consultation areas. Where practicable the areas used for NHS healthcare should be distinct from areas used for non-healthcare related services. 

Separate from these particulars, contractors are required by the legislation to include, as part of their premises standards programmes, systems for maintaining cleanliness at their pharmacies which are designed to ensure, in a proportionate manner, that the risk to people at the pharmacy of healthcare acquired infection is minimised. The cleanliness requirements mentioned in these particulars are in addition to that separate obligation.

Contractors must ensure that:

  1. The pharmacy (other than a distance selling pharmacy) is seen by the public to be open for the provision of pharmaceutical services, during its core and supplementary opening hours. Accordingly the premises should have the appearance of being open to members of the public who are outside the premises.
  2. Where, for reasons such as security, the doors to the premises are kept locked during any core or supplementary opening hours, the pharmacy is laid out and organised to provide for the following:
    1. a member of staff must be posted immediately inside the door, or a hatch, so that members of the public seeking pharmaceutical services can see that there are staff on the premises available to provide pharmaceutical services (an arrangement whereby a doorbell is used to summon a response from a member of staff is not sufficient); and
    2. the staff are to invite the member of the public to enter the premises, if this is necessary to preserve the confidentiality of any discussions, or if the facilities needed for the provision of pharmaceutical service are available only inside the premises.
  3. The area of the premises from which NHS services are provided functions properly as a healthcare environment. This includes:-
    1. keeping the area where medicines are dispensed and/or sold clean;
    2. ensuring that the amount of space available allows staff to perform tasks safely; and
    3. ensuring the prescription reception area:-
      1. is easily recognisable as such and not used for the display of non-healthcare related items;
      2. has appropriate facilities for signing the reverse of prescriptions; and
      3. has an up to date notice about the NHS prescription charge.
  1. In pharmacies where non-healthcare related goods are provided, there is, to the extent that this can be achieved in a practicable and proportionate manner, a buffer area between the displays of medicinal products and the non- healthcare related items.
  2. There are appropriate levels of privacy for conversations with patients. Other than distance selling and pharmacies with a ‘small pharmacy’ exemption granted by NHS England or the ICB, there must be a consultation room, which is (a) clearly designated room for confidential conversations, (b) distinct from the general public areas of the pharmacy premises, and (c) a room where both a person accessing pharmaceutical services and a person performing pharmaceutical services are able to be seated together and communicate confidentially.
  3. Distance selling pharmacies must ensure that there are arrangements in place at which enable a person performing pharmaceutical services to communicate confidentially with a person accessing pharmaceutical services (a) by telephone or another live audio link; and (b) via a live video link.

The consultation room must be:

  1. clean and should not be used for storage of any stock (other than stock that is stored in closed storage units or stock that may be used, sold or supplied during a consultation – for example, hand wipes, emergency hormonal contraception, needle and syringe exchange stock.);
  2. so laid out and organised that any materials or equipment which are on display are healthcare related; and
  3. so laid out and organised that once a consultation begins, the patient’s confidentiality is respected, and no member of staff who is not involved in the consultation is able to enter the room unless authorised by the pharmacist, such authority being given only if the confidentiality of the discussions during the consultation is preserved. Interruptions to the consultation must be kept to a minimum.
  4. If the pharmacy has a waiting area or seating available for customer use, these are also appropriate for a healthcare environment. Any seating must be in good working order.

The effective date for these approved particulars is 4 July 2023.

Publication reference: PRN00607