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RPS position statements on Supervision

These position statements have been agreed by the National Pharmacy Boards and will form a sound basis upon which the RPS response to the consultation on supervision will be based.

  • There should be common overarching principles which derive from standards of pharmaceutical care that describe what patients should expect from all pharmacists. However, the requirements of supplying patients with medicines differ significantly depending upon the sector of practice, so this will mean that the operational implementation of any changes to supervision requirements (or regulations) will need to reflect this diversity.
  • The supply of prescribed medicines to the public requires a clinical check by a pharmacist to ensure that the medicine is appropriate, and this should comply with professional and regulatory standards.
  • Pharmacists hold patient safety at the centre of their practice and they must have sufficient autonomy to guarantee that their pharmaceutical care of patients is delivered in a way that is as safe as possible for their patients. This is the first principle in the General Pharmaceutical Council’s  “Standards for Conduct Ethics and Practice” and this is expanded upon in the RPS document, “Reducing workplace pressure through professional empowerment”. Changes to supervision requirements (or regulations) must further empower individual pharmacists to exert their professional duty on behalf of their patients.
  • Pharmacy has always been at the forefront of technological advance. Future technological advances may provide better, safer and cheaper processes for assisting with the assembly of prescriptions and any changes to supervision requirements (regulations) should enhance patient safety. The RPS welcomes any innovation that allows the pharmacist to concentrate upon patient care and believes that innovations should ensure continuity of, and enhance the quality of, pharmaceutical care.
  • Changes to the role of pharmacists towards increasing clinical and public health service provision are to be promoted. Supervision requirements (or regulations) should be amended so that direct hands-on supervision of the assembly of prescriptions can be delegated to a registered pharmacy technician. We strongly believe that with suitable support in place this delegation can be effective and safe when the pharmacist is readily accessible within the healthcare facility [1]. This ready accessibility of the pharmacist will enable progressive, high quality, pharmaceutical care for patients. Furthermore, we believe that the public rightly expect a pharmacist to be present within the healthcare facility whenever the pharmacy is open.

[1] The RPS would define a healthcare facility as a building in which the public would expect to receive professional healthcare and this would include a hospital, a pharmacy or other larger premises containing a registered pharmacy, healthcare centre or medical practice.