Decriminalisation: A Joint Press Release

Over the last 4 months the bodies in pharmacy have been working together in an unprecedented way to try and deliver a solution to the problem of the criminalisation of dispensing errors. On Tuesday 13th of March an important debate was held in the Houses of Parliament on this matter.

Wed 14th March 2012 The PDA

The pharmacy bodies (PDA, RPS, PV, GHP, IPF, PSNC) have been working collaboratively and extensively with government to gain a solution to the issue of the automatic criminalisation of dispensing errors. We are disappointed that a solution has yet to be realised, however we recognise that this is a very complex matter that requires further detailed work. We now have a much clearer commitment from the government about how and when this will happen.

After taking detailed legal opinion, it became apparent that we could not support the idea of introducing into law a ‘due diligence defence’ against prosecution for dispensing errors.  It is good that this has been put to one side in favour of a timetable for addressing the fundamentals at the heart of this matter.

We will now continue our concerted work with government to create a programme of activity that delivers the sentiments in Lord Howe’s words.  We firmly believe that we can achieve an open and learning culture within the profession that will increase patient safety through the ability to share learning about mistakes and also to remove the fear of prosecution that pharmacists face in their day to day practice.

Note for Editors

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) is a not for profit organisation which aims is to act upon and support the needs of individual pharmacists and, when necessary, to defend their reputation. PDA currently has nearly 17,000 members. The PDA Union was inaugurated in May 2008.

The primary aims of the PDA are to;

  • Support pharmacists in their legal, practice and employment needs.
  • Represent the individual or collective concerns of pharmacists in the most appropriate manner.
  • Provide insurance cover to safeguard and defend the reputation of the individual pharmacist.
  • Proactively seek to influence the professional, practice and employment agenda to support members.
  • Lead and support initiatives designed to improve the knowledge and skills of pharmacists in managing risk and safe practices, so improving patient care.
  • Work with like-minded organisations to further improve the membership benefits to individual pharmacists.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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