• What does being the responsible pharmacist involve?

Secure the safe and effective running of the pharmacy, including during periods of absence. Display a notice with your name, registration number and the fact that you are in charge of the pharmacy at the time. Complete the pharmacy record to identify who the responsible pharmacist is for a pharmacy at any one time. Establish (if not already established), maintain and keep under review procedures for safe working

  • I am a full time employed responsible pharmacist from Monday to Friday. Do I need to complete the record every day or can I complete the record on only Monday morning and Friday evening?

The responsible pharmacist must be satisfied that the pharmacy record is compliant with the responsible pharmacist requirements. The pharmacy record must be contemporaneous and an accurate reflection of who has been the responsible pharmacist at any given time. If a pharmacist makes a record of the fact they are the responsible pharmacist then it can be assumed they are still the responsible pharmacist, when activities that require a responsible pharmacist take place, the next day. A responsible pharmacist who is going to be in charge of the same pharmacy for consecutive days, for example Monday to Friday may decide to complete the record on Monday morning (to show that they have become the responsible pharmacist) and then complete the record on Friday evening (to show that they have ceased to be the responsible pharmacist). By completing the record in this way the responsible pharmacist must understand that they remain responsible for all activities that occur at the premises even when they are absent. Alternatively, they make the record daily. Either way, the pharmacist must be satisfied that the record is contemporaneous. If a responsible pharmacist chooses to complete the pharmacy record on Monday morning and Friday evening, they must ensure that the record in respect of 'absence' is held in a contemporaneous manner. A responsible pharmacist cannot complete their absence for the preceding week retrospectively.

  • Can I be a responsible pharmacist with more than one pharmacy?

No, the responsible pharmacist can only be the responsible pharmacist for one pharmacy at any given time.


  • When do I need to display the responsible pharmacist notice?

If you are the responsible pharmacist, you need to display the RP notice with your information in the pharmacy for which you are responsible, and for as long as you are the responsible pharmacist.

  • Do I need to remove the RP notice if I am absent from the pharmacy?

If you are absent from the pharmacy, you should not remove the Responsible Pharmacist notice even if there is a second pharmacist in the pharmacy.

  • What if the RP changes during the day?

If the responsible pharmacist changes throughout the day, so too should the name and registration number on the RP notice.

  • Can medicines continue to be assembled against a prescription when the responsible pharmacist is absent, and there is no other pharmacist in the pharmacy premises?

For the assembly process to take place a responsible pharmacist must be in charge of the pharmacy premises (s/he may be absent for up to two hours per day) and take place under the supervision of a pharmacist but who may not need to be physically present at the premises. The assembly process includes generating a dispensing label, taking medicines off the dispensary shelves, assembly of the items, labelling containers and accuracy checking.

  • I am the responsible pharmacist and have already been absent for two hours. Later that day, I need to leave the pharmacy, as an emergency has risen. Can I leave the pharmacy?

As you have already been absent for the maximum allotted time, if you were to be absent no sale or supply of any medicines can take place (including GSL), as the pharmacy is considered to be without a responsible pharmacist. You must therefore weigh up the risks and benefits of your absence, and be prepared to justify your decision.

  • If I accidentally go over the two hours absence, should I notify anyone?

Unless your pharmacy procedures require you to, the only people you may need to notify are the pharmacy staff. This is to ensure that no sale and supply of medicines takes place once you have been absent for more than two hours. It is a good idea to note your reason for more than two hours absence for example delayed in traffic.

Responsible Pharmacist (RP) hub

The responsible pharmacist hub page is for anyone who works, or might work, in a registered pharmacy and needs to know about the role of the responsible pharmacist (RP).

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RP Impact Research

The RPS and PSNI commissioned research into the impact of the responsible pharmacist regulations on pharmacy practice, to help inform future decisions.

This research will be used to identify whether further change to pharmacy practice is warranted to optimise the safe and effective pharmaceutical care.

Find out more about the responsible pharmacist impact research