RPS responds to consultation on hospital dispensing errors and superintendent and responsible pharmacists

RPS calls for same defence for hospital and community pharmacists

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has submitted its response to the government's consultation on hospital dispensing errors and superintendent and responsible pharmacists.

The two-part consultation covers:

  • Proposals in changes to the law to provide a new defence on inadvertent dispensing errors in hospitals and other settings, which follows similar measures coming into effect in April for registered pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in registered pharmacies.
  • Changes to the legislation regarding responsible pharmacists and superintendent pharmacists.

Regarding proposals around dispensing errors, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Ash Soni said:

“We strongly support the move to provide pharmacists working in hospitals and other settings with the same defence around inadvertent dispensing errors already in effect for community colleagues.

“This has been a long-running conversation through the Rebalancing Board and I have appreciated the commitment of the Health Minister Steve Brine MP to see the changes through. 

“This is an important part of fostering a culture reporting of errors to improve patient safety and so we now look for this change to be brought before Parliament as quickly as possible.”

Regarding proposals for superintendent and responsible pharmacists, Ash Soni said:

“We agree with the aim of moving from legislation to regulation to better keep pace with changes in pharmacy practice. 

“This will however place greater responsibility on the General Pharmaceutical Council to ensure their regulatory standards and systems are robust enough to identify areas of risk, whilst still offering sufficient flexibility to empower pharmacists in their daily practice.

"It is important when reviewing any regulatory changes the GPhC must ensure that the public always have access to the expertise of a pharmacist to recognise their role as experts in medicines and ensuring public safety in the use of medicines. We would expect the regulator to ensure it particularly values the input of RPS in supporting and maintaining this position.

“Superintendents must have authority and autonomy over the professional aspects of the pharmacy business and this should be enshrined in legislation.”

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has published a Quick Reference Guide on making things right when there's been a dispensing error.

Members can also speak to our professional support service about managing dispensing errors on 0845 257 2570.