RPS responds to supervision consultation

medicines on a shelf

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has responded to the Government’s consultation on pharmacy supervision, following widespread engagement through member events, Expert Advisory Groups and board discussions.

Our response supports the need for enabling legislation to move Supervision forward and builds on the widely consulted RPS Policy on Supervision.

While the RPS support legislative change, the response addresses a range of topics that will need to be considered and clarified in regulations and guidance. These include:

  • Ensuring that consistent patient access to pharmacist expertise is maintained
  • The need for clarification on the new concept of ‘authorisation’, including around documentation, accountability, the role of Superintendent Pharmacist and Responsible Pharmacist, and ensuring pharmacists are uninhibited from exercising their professional judgment
  • Consideration of workforce planning and investment to implement these changes
  • Investment required in making the public aware of proposed changes
  • Protected time to support professional development and implementation
  • Ensuring consistency in skills and training for staff delivering aseptic pharmacy services and clarity of responsibility and accountability within the legislation

RPS President, Professor Claire Anderson said:

“After many years of discussions with the Government and pharmacy stakeholders, this consultation is a welcome step towards supporting the clinical role of pharmacists and making the most of the skills within pharmacy teams to support patient care. I want to thank all of our members who helped inform and shape our response.

“Our visions across the three countries highlight the upskilling of all members of the pharmacy team as a key way to release the capacity for pharmacists to utilise their clinical and prescribing skills. Proposals also need to balance supporting access to medicines with patient safety and I welcome moves to enable pharmacy teams, when authorised by a pharmacist, to be able to hand out pre-checked and bagged medicines to patients in the absence of a pharmacist when it is safe to do so.

“Pharmacists were one of the most accessible health professionals during COVID-19 and provided a vital lifeline for the public during a national crisis. Patient groups continue to tell us about the importance of consistent access to pharmacy services and changes to legislation mustn't set us down a road that begins to undermine this principle. Implementation must ensure that patients can continue to engage with pharmacists and receive advice and support when they need it. 

“Beyond legislative change, pharmacists and pharmacy teams will require support, both in terms of workforce development and adequate investment, to enable the consistent provision of high-quality pharmacy services. We need a more robust approach to supporting professional development to boost staff retention in all sectors of practice so that pharmacy teams can continue to flourish wherever they may work.

“With the forthcoming general election, I urge the Government to reflect on the consultation responses and bring forward legislative change as soon as possible.”

You can read our full response here.

You can respond to the Government’s consultation online. Closing date 29 February.

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