In each issue of The Practice Standard, we bring you an Inspector’s Top Tip. This time, some words of wisdom from Richard Killen, about the correct storage of medicines...
The monitoring and recording of medicine storage areas
The most important places for temperature monitoring are the pharmacy and the fridges where medicines are stored. The maximum and minimum temperatures for these areas need to be checked daily and records kept.
Medicines should be stored as recommended by their manufactures. Usually those requiring fridge storage should be stored at 2–8˚C, and those that don’t require refrigeration should be stored at 8-25 ˚C (ambient temperature).
The measuring of the temperatures can be by traditional maximum/minimum thermometers or by the use of data loggers.
For thermometers and non-alarmed data loggers, daily maximum/minimum temperatures checks should be made and weekly records of these checks should be kept.
For alarmed loggers, daily visual checks of the temperature alarm should be made and weekly records kept.
For other areas where drugs are stored, such as consultation rooms and prep areas, the same type of recording is recommended, though not required.
Where maximum/minimum thermometers are not kept in these areas, ambient temperature must be maintained and recorded daily.
I always check these records at the time of inspection.
Where deviations from the correct storage ranges are discovered, then there must be plans in place to deal with such situations.
NB. Human food should not be stored in the medicine fridges!