Practice-based audits

Audits in community pharmacy

The contractual framework for community pharmacy in England and Wales requires each pharmacy to complete two types of audit every year over a total combined period of one week. The first audit is completed at the request of NHS England and the second is a practice-based audit conducted by the pharmacy on a topic of its choosing.

Practice-based audits present an opportunity to review the systems and procedures operating in a pharmacy and, having assessed what is happening, ascertain what can be done better. Audits can also be used to gain data about what is happening in a pharmacy as a prompt for working with other health professionals to improve safety, quality and the whole patient experience.

Pharmacy Voice approach to audit

Pharmacy Voice has worked with pharmacy owners to develop an audit process that can be carried out on a large scale across a number of companies and different types of community pharmacy, allowing individual providers to meet the contractual requirement to undertake a practice-based audit, and the sector as a whole to gather results that can be used to gain a picture of an issue at a national level.

Each year a relevant topic is identified, and an audit designed to generate useful data and learning on the issue is developed, through consultation with the Pharmacy Voice Pharmacy Practice Group. The audit materials are made available to all members of Pharmacy Voice’s constituent members and can be found here.

Practice-based audit for 2016-17

This year, Pharmacy Voice is encouraging all community pharmacies to take part in a practice-based audit on repeat medication services and medicines waste.

The practice-based audit, which is available to all AIMp, CCA and NPA members, will explore the different types of repeat medication services being used in community pharmacies in England and assess their contributions to ongoing patient care.

This audit is being undertaken by a range of community pharmacies from Pharmacy Voice as a mechanism to determine whether current repeat medication systems prevent prescribed but unnecessary or inappropriate prescription items from reaching patients.  In addition, it will support pharmacy teams in reviewing their current systems and reflecting on whether they are operating as efficiently as possible.

Resources for the audit include a brief guidance document, which includes instructions for pharmacy teams, and a data collection sheet.  Data should be collected for 50 different patients with repeat items (or all patients with repeat items over the week if there are less than 50).

Individual companies should decide how they would like their pharmacy team(s) to participate in the audit and how they would like to share their data with Pharmacy Voice.  Completed data collection sheets can be sent in by email directly to

For larger companies, it is likely that branches will collect their data and then share this with a specified Company Lead who will collate all of the responses into one summary sheet and send it to Pharmacy Voice.

Previous Pharmacy Voice practice-based audit reports