HLP – Premises Requirements

Published on: 18th November 2020 | Updated on: 22nd August 2023

Pharmacy owners should aim to create a health promoting environment that is reflected by the premises, as well as in the actions and attitudes of the pharmacy staff.

Click on a heading below for more information.

Health promoting environment

To create a health promoting environment, pharmacy owners must ensure:

  • It is clear to the public that free, confidential advice on their health and wellbeing can be accessed;
  • For pharmacies which are visited by patients and the public, the pharmacy has a dedicated Health Promotion Zone, of sufficient prominence, that contains up-to-date professional health and wellbeing information that meets the needs of the population they serve; and
  • Distance Selling Premises (DSPs) must have a website for use by patients and the public accessing their services, which has an interactive page on their website clearly promoted to any user of the website when they first access it, which provides public access to a reasonable range of up to date materials that promote healthy lifestyles, by addressing a reasonable range of health issues. DSPs must be compliant with this requirement from 1st April 2021.

Pharmacy owners must also ensure they are compliant with NHS England’s Approved Particulars for Premises.

Consultation Rooms

Pharmacy premises, other than DSPs, must have a consultation room which is:

    1. clearly designated as a room for confidential conversations;
    2. distinct from the general public areas of the pharmacy premises; and
    3. a room where both a person accessing pharmaceutical services and a person performing pharmaceutical services are able to be seated together and communicate confidentially.

Where a pharmacy has not provided any Advanced services at or from the premises during 2020, they will be exempt from the requirement to have a consultation room on the premises until 1st April 2023, after which they will also be required to have one in place.

Where pharmacy premises, other than DSPs, are too small for a consultation room to be included, the pharmacy owner must apply to their NHS England regional team to request an exemption from this requirement using the published form (NHS England » Pharmacy regulations guidance forms). NHS England will consider the information provided by the pharmacy owner and where it is of the opinion that the pharmacy is too small for a consultation room, it will confirm this with the pharmacy owner. The pharmacy owner must then ensure that they put arrangements in place at the pharmacy which enable staff and patients to communicate confidentially by telephone or another live audio link and a live video link.

Pharmacy owners are advised to keep a copy of the NHS England decision confirming that the pharmacy owner is exempt from the requirement of having a consultation room on the premises.

Where NHS England are of the opinion that the pharmacy is not too small for a consultation room, the pharmacy owner will be advised of this and they will need to install a consultation room.

Pharmacy owners who open new pharmacy premises on or after 1st January 2021 will need to have a consultation room from the first day they open for business.

Consultations held from distance selling premises

DSPs must ensure that there are arrangements in place at the pharmacy which enable staff and patients to communicate confidentially by telephone or another live audio link and a live video link.

DSPs can choose to install a consultation room at their pharmacy to allow the provision of Enhanced and Advanced services on the premises, but this is not a requirement of the Terms of Service.


Pharmacy owners should consider environmental sustainability in the way they operate their business. This may include reducing the use of paper materials and providing more information online. This should only be where online access is appropriate for patient care, for example, some patients may not be able to access online materials. Pharmacy owners could also consider highlighting to patients the environmental benefit of returning used inhalers to the pharmacy for safe disposal via the disposal of unwanted medicines service.

For more information on what the NHS is doing to become more environmentally sustainable, pharmacy owners can read the NHS England Delivering a ‘Net Zero National Health Service document.


Return to the HLP hub page

For more information on this topic please email services.team@cpe.org.uk

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