PDA respond to GPhC Safe and Effective Pharmacy Team Guidance

The PDA has responded to the GPhC’s 'Guidance to ensure a safe and effective pharmacy team' for pharmacy owners. This was published on 11 June.

Thu 21st June 2018 The PDA

The GPhC has published its finalised ‘Guidance to ensure a safe and effective pharmacy team’ for pharmacy owners. The guidance can be found here.

The PDA responded critically to the 2017 consultation on this guidance. Our response can be found here.

The GPhC were planning to stop setting training requirements and assessing and approving training courses for dispensing assistants and medicines counter assistants. We are pleased they have decided not to press ahead at this stage. However, we have serious concerns about the effect of the guidance on patient safety.

These include:

  • Guidance is non-compulsory. It covers some important issues, but only the standards are enforceable, and it is against these that pharmacies will be assessed.
  • The guidance doesn’t require the professional decision or even input of the pharmacist into crucial patient-safety related matters, such as the number, training and competence of staff.
  • To an outside observer, it may appear that the GPhC has “done something” about the issues it covers – but the devil is in the detail. We are concerned that parts of this guidance may be able to act as a smokescreen – potentially exacerbating some issues whilst giving the appearance all is well – and if they can, it may have been better not to have those parts of the guidance at all.
  • The PDA is concerned by the statement “If the pharmacy is owned by a body corporate, the directors must assure themselves that the standards for registered pharmacies are being met.” This could be interpreted as saying that the directors just tell themselves that standards are being met without actually checking.

The guidance includes a section on ‘setting staffing levels and responding to concerns about patient safety’. The PDA has commented on that section in more detail here.

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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