PQS: Inhaler disposal quality criterion – are you ready to start working towards this from tomorrow?


Community pharmacy contractors are reminded that if they intend to meet the Respiratory domain of the Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS), they must start working towards the ‘Return of unwanted and unused inhalers’ quality criterion from tomorrow (1st September 2021) and continue with this until 31st January 2022.

The quality criterion states:

On the day of the declaration, all patient-facing pharmacy staff working at the pharmacy have been trained on the reasons why used, unwanted and expired inhalers should be returned to the pharmacy for safe disposal and the adverse effects on the environment when inhalers are disposed of in domestic waste. 

On the day of the declaration, the pharmacy must be able to evidence that they have spoken (a verbal conversation rather than written communication) with all patients, their carer or representatives, for whom they have dispensed an inhaler between 1 September 2021 to 31 January 2022, about the environmental benefits of them returning all unwanted and used inhaler devices to a community pharmacy for safe and environmentally friendly disposal. Discussions can be supplemented with other communication methods such as leaflets, emails and texts.

Resources to support contractors

There is no specific training programme to be completed to meet the above requirement, but the following PSNC Briefing can be use by contractors to train their staff and meet this requirement:

PSNC Briefing 024/21 Reducing the climate change impact of inhalers: environmentally safe disposal

When speaking with patients, their carer or representatives, who have been dispensed an inhaler, about returning all unwanted and used inhaler devices to a pharmacy for safe and environmentally friendly disposal, pharmacy teams can use the following resource:

Patient briefing aid on inhaler disposal

Contractors are required to report the number of conversations that have been had with patients and/or their carers for this criterion when they complete the PQS declaration, as well as reporting a number of other requirements for other criteria. The below data collection form can be used to record this information as well as being used to collect data for the other quality criteria:

Data collection form (Microsoft Word)

Data collection form (PDF)

Further information on the PQS can be found on the PSNC PQS hub page.

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