Quality Improvement

Since 2016, the Scottish Government has committed to making continuous quality improvement a feature embedded into the community pharmacy contractual arrangements, in line with all other NHS bodies and contractor groups. QI methodology can be applied to any number of areas, but is of particular value in addressing patient safety issues.

So far, all community pharmacies in Scotland have undertaken the following exercises, with each activity building on the previous year’s experience to help foster a culture of continuous improvement in the profession:


  • Completion of 8 NHS Scotland Quality Improvement modules by all employee pharmacists
  • Benchmarking the safety culture in each community pharmacy by completing the community pharmacy Safety Climate Survey.


  • Measuring improvement in safety culture by completing the community pharmacy Safety Climate Survey (SCS)
  • Creating an action plan based on the results of the SCS which will be used to make further improvements to safety culture in the pharmacy
  • Making available a set of Root Cause Analysis tools with which to address the contributing factors to near miss and patient safety incidents
  • The introduction of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) interventions. Pharmacy teams now put the QI methodology learned in 2016-17 to use in ensuring consistent delivery of patient safety messages related to the use of prescribed and purchased NSAID medicines by the whole team


  • Implementation of the action plan created following 2017-18’s Safety Climate Survey activities
  • Continuation of the NSAID interventions and associated QI activity
  • Education and training for every community pharmacist employee on the next stage of NSAID intervention: a clinical bundle which helps to identify those at greater risk of harm in order to target interventions appropriately. This part of the NSAID safer care bundle will be implemented as part of 2019-20’s QI activities
  • Participation in a profession-wide workforce survey, led by NES
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