Interactive map lays bare the UK's 100+ worst-performing chemists

The pharmacist will see you now… but you might not want them to: Interactive map lays bare all 100-plus of the UK’s worst-performing chemists – so is YOURS one of them?

  • EXCLUSIVE: Pharmacies that failed to meet required standards within last year
  • Some 11 community pharmacies were also subject to enforcement action 

Britain’s worst-performing pharmacies are today named and shamed by a forensic MailOnline audit — with an interactive map allowing you to check if yours is one of the offenders.

Our investigation reveals 108 high street chemists were reprimanded for failing to meet basic standards over the past year. 

Ten were subject to enforcement action for breaching strict regulatory guidelines. 

On -, Chemipharm, in Birmingham – was said to be ‘unclean and unhygienic’, with its standards not meeting those ‘expected of a healthcare environment’.

Another, Osbon Pharmacy in east London, would ‘regularly’ order ‘unusually large volumes of liquid codeine preparations’.

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Chemipharm in Birmingham was found to be ‘unclean and unhygienic’. The regulator noted its standards of cleanliness and maintenance ‘do not meet the standards expected of a healthcare environment’

Osbon Pharmacy in east London is reported to ‘regularly’ order ‘unusually large volumes of liquid codeine preparations’. But it is ‘unclear why these medicines are needed as there is little evidence of them being sold or supplied’, the watchdog said. The pharmacy was also found to be failing to protect patients’ private information sufficiently

But it is ‘unclear why these medicines are needed as there is little evidence of them being sold or supplied’, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) said. 

The pharmacy was also found to be failing to protect patient’s private information sufficiently. 

MailOnline has flagged all of the offending pharmacies on an interactive map. 

Every pharmacy is also listed in a table below, with its registration number, location and postcode, allowing you to read how they are judged by the regulator on their website. 

Worst rated areas for pharmacies 

The areas with the highest proportion of community pharmacies that failed to meet all required standards by the GPC in the last 12 months:

1. London: 14

2. Nottingham: 5

3. Birmingham: 4

4. Bolton: 4

5. Bournemouth: 4  

It comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last week gave new powers to chemists to prescribe drugs for common ailments under a plan to free up millions of GP appointments. 

The GPhC carries out regular inspections of every pharmacy in the country.

It rates them with one overall outcome — either ‘standards met’ or ‘standards not all met’ — based on five sections.

These are governance, staffing, premises, services and equipment.

When guidelines are breached, pharmacies are given an action plan ordering them to improve.

Further enforcement action can then be made on chemists who fail to overhaul their services after six months.

This can include imposing conditions on premises dishing out drugs. 

In extreme circumstances, pharmacies can be forced to stop selling prescription-only drugs.

MailOnline’s probe found that close to 150 pharmacies across the UK were ruled to have not met all their standards during their last inspection. 

Of these, 108 were bricks and mortar chemists. They are marked orange on our map, which can be zoomed in and out.

Many have since overhauled their services, to the satisfaction of the GPhC.   

Eleven of the total — marked red on our map — were subject to enforcement action by the GPhC. 

This total, however, accounts for only 1 per cent of all the 11,000-plus community pharmacies in the UK. 

All inspection reports included in MailOnline’s analysis were published between May 12, 2022 and May 11, 2023. 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last week gave new powers to chemists to prescribe drugs for common ailments under a plan to free up millions of GP appointments. Pictured, Mr Sunak outside his parents’ former pharmacy premises in Southampton

Under the measures unveiled last week, the Government revealed a pharmacy common ailments scheme in England would be launched before the end of 2023. Under the service, patients will be able to get a prescription from their pharmacist for seven minor illnesses including earache and urinary tract infections without having to see their GP first. The pharmacy contraception service that launched last month and existing pharmacy blood pressure services will also be expanded

Gareth Jones, director of corporate affairs at The National Pharmacy Association, told MailOnline: ‘There are over 14,000 pharmacies in the UK, the vast majority of whom provide very high-quality health care services. 

‘As in any other regulated sector, the regulatory system exists to check performance and target the relatively small number that need to improve their service in some way.’

He added: ‘Numerous surveys have found that the public has a positive experience of using pharmacies, and trust in pharmacists and their teams is very high for very good reason.’

A GPhC spokesperson said: We set standards for registered pharmacies in Great Britain; and by inspecting pharmacies we assess if they are meeting these standards.

‘Pharmacy inspections are also intended to help pharmacies improve their systems and services, the quality of care and the outcomes for patients and the public using their services.

Read more: Warning over string of fatal overdoses from online pharmacies selling dangerous slimming pills and opioids

‘There are two potential outcomes a pharmacy can receive from an inspection: standards met or standards not all met. 

‘All of the standards will need to be met for a pharmacy to receive a standards met outcome. The vast majority of pharmacies (circa 85 per cent typically) do meet all the standards when inspected.

‘Any pharmacy not meeting all of the standards has to complete an improvement action plan.’

The spokesperson added: ‘Improvement action plans are published alongside the report our inspections website.’

It comes after the Government last week unveiled its long-awaited GP ‘recovery plan’ that aims to ease pressure on overstretched family doctors — partly by handing new powers to pharmacists.

Policymakers hope the scheme, which will take effect by winter, will free up millions of appointments and end the dreaded ‘8am scramble’.

It will enable pharmacists to prescribe drugs for conditions including ear infections, sore throats, sinusitis, shingles and minor urine infections.

The move will be backed by funding of £645million.

MailOnline excluded any online-only or hospital-based pharmacies from its analysis. 

GPhC enforcement action against internet-based pharmacies is becoming a growing issue. 

In March, its director of insight, intelligence and inspection revealed almost a third of all online pharmacies are failing to meet regulatory standards.

‘Overprescribing’ and a lack of ‘appropriate checks in place’ were mentioned among the list of ‘failures’.

The watchdog also issued a safety alert last summer over concerns that drugs were being dished out by too many online pharmacies without proper oversight. 

The regulator said a ‘disproportionate’ 30 per cent of the fitness-to-practice cases it was investigating, concerned internet-based pharmacies.

This was despite these pharmacies only accounting for fraction of the sector compared to traditional brick and mortar premises.

Earlier this year, MailOnline also performed an audit on the worst-performing GP surgeries in England. 

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