New legislative orders will give the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) powers to set professional standards for Responsible Pharmacists, Superintendent Pharmacists and Chief Pharmacists.
The Pharmacy (Preparation and Dispensing Errors – Hospital and Other Pharmacy Services) Order 2022 and the Pharmacy (Responsible Pharmacists, Superintendent Pharmacists etc.) Order 2022 have now been published after being approved by the Privy Council. The orders are both expected to be commenced and come into force in December 2022.
Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the GPhC, said:
“These orders will enable the GPhC and PSNI to take forward important work to strengthen pharmacy governance. Once the orders come into force later this year, we will have new powers to define how the roles of the Responsible Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist and Chief Pharmacist are fulfilled. New standards will complement our existing standards for all pharmacy professionals to which these groups are already committed. We expect the strengthening of assurance around these critical roles to empower pharmacy professionals at a time of great challenge and opportunity for the professions.
“We also welcome the changes the Pharmacy (Preparation and Dispensing Errors – Hospital and Other Pharmacy Services) Order 2022 will make to the Medicines Act. These changes will enable pharmacy professionals working in settings including hospitals and prisons to have protection from prosecution in the event of a dispensing or assembly error, provided certain preconditions are satisfied. Previously this protection from prosecution was only available to pharmacy professionals working at a registered pharmacy.
“We strongly support extending this protection from prosecution to pharmacy professionals working in other settings, as we believe this promotes an open and learning culture. This will increase the opportunities for pharmacy teams to learn from dispensing errors and reduce the possibility of them happening again, which is vital for patient safety.”
“Once the orders are commenced, which we expect to happen on 1 December 2022, we will begin engaging extensively with patients and the public, health professionals, the NHS and the wider health sector, to discuss the requirements and expectations around the roles of Responsible Pharmacists, Superintendent Pharmacists and Chief Pharmacists.
“We are committed to listening carefully to all views expressed and considering what approach would best support safe and effective pharmacy care.
“We will then move onto drafting the rules and professional standards and will hold full public consultations to make sure that the rules and the standards reflect the views and needs of patients and the public, health professionals, the NHS and the wider health sector. We will be sharing further details about how the rules and standards will be developed after the orders are commenced.”
You can read the published orders here: