The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) sets standards for conduct, ethics and performance which all registered pharmacy professionals must follow in their practice.
At a Council meeting on 7 February 2013, our Council approved the GPhC’s corporate plan for 2013/16, which included a commitment to review the standards of conduct, ethics and performance, carrying out preliminary scoping work in 2013 before public engagement and consultation in 2014/15.
This review will consider all of the core standards of conduct, ethics and performance, including Standard 3.4 which sets out what pharmacy professionals must do if their religious or moral beliefs prevent them from providing a service.
The standards of conduct, ethics and performance require that pharmacy professionals make sure that if their religious or moral beliefs prevent them from providing a service, they tell the relevant people or authorities and refer patients and the public to other providers. Pharmacy professionals must always consider and act in the best interests of their patients and the public and treat people politely and considerately.
Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council, said:
“Putting patients’ interests first is the overriding principle in the professional standards that all pharmacists must follow. And our standards also remind pharmacists that in the care and services they provide they must not discriminate against patients on the grounds of religion, belief, lifestyle or for any other reason. Individual pharmacists have a professional responsibility to ensure that their own beliefs do not impact adversely on patients.
“This includes making sure that if they are unable to provide a particular service for any reason, including their religious or moral beliefs, they must inform those responsible for organising services in advance, so that they can make arrangements for patients to receive the medicines or other services that they need.”
The GPhC has also produced supporting guidance on the provision of pharmacy services affected by religious and moral beliefs.
Further information about the review of the standards of conduct, ethics and performance and how patients and the public and pharmacy professionals can participate in the public engagement and consultation will be available on the website and in our monthly bulletin, Upda+e. You can sign up to receive Upda+e on our homepage.