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PDA members are encouraged to respond to the DHSC’s dispensing errors and organisational governance consultation

Pharmacists have until 11th September to respond to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)’s consultation on “dispensing errors and organisational governance”. We encourage you to respond to the consultation and share your views on the proposals.

Thu 6th September 2018 The PDA

Despite the poor working conditions reported by many of our members, the resultant risks to patient safety, and the failure to decriminalise inadvertent dispensing errors, the government continues to lay the foundations which could lead to remote supervision in registered pharmacies. The proposals in this consultation, if implemented, could see Responsible Pharmacists made remotely responsible for more than one pharmacy.

The government is also seeking to move public protections around the supply of medicines from legislation and transfer them to the control of the pharmacy regulator. We do not believe that the regulator is ready to undertake the formidable task that has been outlined for it by the government in this rebalancing exercise; nor do we believe that it will be ready any time soon. The future of regulation is also uncertain, with the possibility that the GPhC and PSNI will be consolidated into a larger regulator, which will be even less well equipped to take on the additional responsibilities proposed in this consultation; it could at best focus upon regulation, rather than the rebalancing ambition of the government, which is to set the detailed operational standards for pharmacy practice in the future.

The consultation also proposes extending the conditional defences to prosecution under section 63 and 64 of the Medicines Act 1968 to apply to hospital pharmacies. The defences currently only apply in registered pharmacies. Although the defences are better than nothing, we would have preferred a much more ambitious approach from the government; pharmacists remain vulnerable to criminal prosecution for inadvertent errors under other areas of medicines law, and in situations where the defences don’t apply.

We urge pharmacists to respond to the consultation by supporting the points below:

Part 2 – Question 13: Do you agree that the pharmacy regulators should have the power to make an exception to the general rule that a Responsible Pharmacist can only be in charge of one pharmacy at one time?

Elements of PDA response for members to consider: No. This would create an unacceptable risk to patient safety and expose pharmacists unfairly to criminal and civil prosecution and regulatory sanctions, in working conditions that at present are poorly regulated and for activities that occur in pharmacies in which they are not even present.

Part 2 – Question 16:  Do you agree that the pharmacy regulators should be provided with a new general rule/regulation making power in respect to the Responsible Pharmacist and remove the specific Ministerial regulation making powers in respect of:
(a) the qualification and experience of Responsible Pharmacists;
(b) the Responsible Pharmacist and supervision;
(c) procedures; and
(d) the record-keeping of the Responsible Pharmacist

Elements of PDA response for members to consider: No. UK pharmacy regulators should not be given regulation-making powers about the supervision of pharmacies, the sale and supply of medicines or the supervision of activities for which a pharmacist is not the RP.
The PDA is opposed to remote supervision.

This consultation is the result of the work of the government’s Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation programme board. Despite formal representations, the rebalancing board has refused to allow in to membership both the PDA (the largest pharmacist representative organisation in the UK) and the NPA (which represents independent pharmacy contractors). The non-representative composition of the board and the relatively cloistered seclusion of its meetings mean that the rebalancing board lacks expertise and significantly lacks insight into the realities of pharmacy practice at scale.


thumbnail of DHSC Pharmacy Errors Organisational Governance FINAL 11-09-2018


The consultation documents and details of how to respond can be found below.  

Read more and respond

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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