Guidance on ethical, professional decision-making in the COVID-19 pandemic

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has today published Guidance on ethical, professional decision-making in the COVID-19 pandemic to support pharmacists and registered pharmacy technicians faced with making difficult decisions linked to the exceptional impact of COVID-19.

The guidance has been developed by a diverse group, chaired by Dr Matthew Boyd MRPharmS, Head of the Division of Pharmacy Practice and Policy at the University of Nottingham and Vice Chair of the Pharmacy Law and Ethics Association (PLEA).

The guidance can be used to support colleagues involved in strategic planning, or front-line roles and is for use by pharmacy professionals in all settings.

It provides helpful reminders about the process of reasoned decision making, the national pandemic ethical framework and some considerations about specific areas of importance to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. The varied experiences of the guidance contributors brings together a wide range of up to the moment professional issues that many may or will be facing.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians should be reassured that should decisions be called into question at a later date, they will be judged according to the circumstances at the time of the decision, not with the benefit of hindsight.

RPS President Sandra Gidley said:

“In times such as these, individuals have to demonstrate professional integrity and work flexibly, sometimes across professional boundaries, to ensure the best realistic outcomes for patients.

“This guidance will help pharmacy professionals to take responsibility for making difficult but informed decisions. It provides reassurance that those decisions are the right thing to do given the pandemic situation.”

Dr Matthew Boyd from the University of Nottingham and PLEA said:

“The willingness of so many senior members of our professional family to volunteer to contribute to this document, and at speed, summarises the drive and compassion amongst our number for high standards of patient care.

“The guidance has had comment from all sectors of the pharmacy team to provide maximum coverage. Appropriately applied, the frameworks should support all required decisions during the pandemic.”

The guidance is supported by the General Pharmaceutical Council, the Pharmaceutical Society NI and the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK.

COVID-19 ethical, professional decision-making framework

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