Standards for Retail Pharmacy Businesses


The PSI Corporate Strategy 2018-2020 outlines a programme of activities intended to further develop the regulator’s work in assuring trust in pharmacists, in pharmacy services and the achievement of better public health outcomes, through effective regulation of pharmacists and pharmacies. During March and April 2018, the PSI held 11 regional seminars for superintendent pharmacists to introduce the Corporate Strategy and to discuss areas of mutual interest, with PSI staff facilitating a wide range of discussions.

Standards-based Approach

The PSI Council has agreed to develop Governance and Accountability Standards for Quality and Safety in Retail Pharmacy Businesses. The development of Standards will be a new approach from the guidelines issued to date, in that standards provide concise, outcome-focussed statements against which a service provider establishes and delivers their service, and which the regulator can use to assess performance. The Standards will inform the public as to the standard of care and professionalism which they can expect to receive from a registered pharmacy – evidence that safe systems of care are in place and that these operate within clear accountability structures.

Process for the Development of the Standards

The process for the development of the Standards has been created following engagement with the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), and closely aligns with their established process to develop national standards for health and social care. This process was recently updated following a substantial project in 2018 that involved a review of national and international evidence, engagement with national and international experts and application of HIQA’s knowledge and experience of the health and social care context.

Process Summary and Timelines

Process Summary and timelines for Standards for Retail Pharmacy Businesess

The Standards Advisory Group

To enable stakeholders to feed into the development process from an early stage, a Standards Advisory Group comprising key stakeholders, including those from the pharmacy sector and patient groups, together with independent experts, has been convened. The Standards Advisory Group will use their expertise to guide and inform the work of the PSI project team in the development of the standards to ensure that they are useful, practical and meet their objective.

  • View the agenda and presentation from the Standards Advisory Group held on 20 November 2018.
  • View the agenda and presentation from the Standards Advisory Group held on 26 March 2019.

The next meeting of the Standards Advisory Group is scheduled for 4 June 2019.

Next steps

To inform the development of the standards we will be carrying out a review of the available literature on the topic. This ensures that the standards are evidence-based, developed in line with national and international best practice and will help to future proof the standards that will be developed.

We also carried out a scoping consultation in March 2019 to ascertain who will be affected by the introduction of the standards, what issues are important and the key issues that should be addressed by the standards. Read the report on the scoping consultation. We will also aim to gather the experiences of those providing or using related services, including examples of best practice.

If you would like to hear about opportunities to engage with us on the development of the standards, please get in touch by emailing

We will continue to update this page on the progression of this work, and highlight key developments through the PSI Newsletter.