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Underpinning Knowledge for Level 2 NVQ Pharmacy Service Skills

This course develops confidence in the dispensary and provides in-depth knowledge to work safely, preparing and handling prescriptions and pharmacy stock as part of a team. In addition it introduces the concepts of person centred care, information and clinical governance and explores the services offered by pharmacies in the wider healthcare environment, alongside modules suitable for those working in a pharmacy manufacturing environment.

Course Details
Course Cost
Course Category
12 Months

Course Overview

The Level 2 underpinning knowledge course provides trainees with the knowledge regarding legal aspects and procedures within a dispensary. This course covers use of reference books, interpretation and validation of the prescription, law and ethics, the Drug Tariff, compliance and concordance and dispensing errors.

How is the Course Delivered?

All our courses are delivered by blended learning. This course benefits from a dedicated website where learners with internet access can download course materials and complete some assignments on-line with immediate feedback. The course consists of up to 13 modules. The assessment involves multiple choice questions for the underpinning knowledge modules.

Completion of this course alone does not meet the minimum requirements for training, as a dispensing assistant with the pharmacy regulator, but it may be undertaken as part of a wider programme of study.

Course Content

Covers the key responsibilities with regards to health and safety, SOPs and safeguarding the public. Learners will understand the roles of the wider team and the importance of team work, and be introduced to effective communication and customer service.

This module teaches the knowledge and skills required to accept prescriptions presented to the dispensary and interpret the information on the prescription to ensure it is ready for dispensing.

This module introduces dispensary equipment, resources, calculations and abbreviations which underpin the dispensing processes required to dispense or label prescription items.

The module covers the practical processes and skills required to safely and hygienically dispense a prescription, including the checks each prescription will undergo.

Learners will understand how to order, receive, maintain and issue dispensary stock, along with any administrative tasks associated with these processes.

This module focuses on the additional legislation and procedures required for handling and dispensing controlled drugs safely.

This module teaches the knowledge and skills required to understand the role of the dispensing assistant in issuing prescriptions to patients and communicating effectively with patients regarding their dispensed medicines.

This module introduces the concept of clinical governance within dispensaries, including error monitoring, error reduction, audits, information governance, whistleblowing and quality payments.

Learners will understand importance of team work, including the wider multidisciplinary team, and develop communication skills and personal practice to deliver high quality care to patients.

This module explores the services offered by pharmacies and other healthcare providers, to improve patient access to medicines, screening, services and advice, and how the dispensing assistant can support the wider team with this.


Covers legislation and guidance in relation to aseptic manufacture, including cGMP, audits, inspections and documentation required to provide quality assurance.

Covers the key processes for labelling, preparing, dispensing and packaging aseptic products in both licensed and unlicensed units.

Covers the processes that are used in the preparation and manufacture of medicinal products, alongside the requirements for packaging, documentation and storage.