Chemist + Druggist is part of Pharma Intelligence UK Limited

This is operated by Pharma Intelligence UK Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 13787459 whose registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. The Pharma Intelligence group is owned by Caerus Topco S.à r.l. and all copyright resides with the group.

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use. Please do not redistribute without permission.

Printed By


RPS clarifies stance on remote supervision after pharmacists’ concerns

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has clarified its position on remote pharmacy supervision following backlash from pharmacists on Twitter.

In its response to a government consultation on the “roles and responsibilities of pharmacy owners, superintendents and responsible pharmacists” – which closed on Tuesday (September 11) – the RPS said it was in favour of allowing regulators to make exceptions to the rule that responsible pharmacists can only be in charge of one pharmacy at a time.

“Being the responsible pharmacist in charge of one pharmacy at any one time should be the norm,” the RPS said. “We expect any regulator to make this clear but to allow exceptions for emergencies where patient care would be compromised, such as extreme weather or a pandemic situation.”

Following the RPS statement on Wednesday (September 12), pharmacists raised concerns on Twitter that the society was condoning the running of pharmacies without a pharmacist present.

Community pharmacist Sham Kiani said the RPS’s statement was “remote supervision via the back door”, while Tohidul Islam, founder of The Pharmacist Cooperative, said he was rethinking his membership as the society's “tacit approval of remote supervision…doesn’t represent me or the majority of our profession”.

Further clarification

In a further statement issued yesterday (September 13) afternoon, RPS president Ash Soni stressed: “The RPS has always been clear that every pharmacy should have a responsible pharmacist.”

Both the organisation’s policy summary and its latest medicines, ethics and practice guide “clearly” reinforce its view, Mr Soni added.

The RPS said that a responsible pharmacist should be allowed to supervise more than one pharmacy “only in emergencies”.

“We will be challenging the General Pharmaceutical Council to make sure there is a defined and specific description of the ‘exceptional’ circumstances where pharmacists, not employers, would use their judgement to make sure patients have access to essential medicines,” Mr Soni said.

“We recognise there is a spectrum of views and will make sure members have opportunities to shape this work.”

Read the RPS’s response in full here.

How did the other pharmacy bodies respond?

In its consultation, the Department of Health and Social Care board set up to ‘rebalance’ pharmacy legislation asked: Do you agree that the pharmacy regulators should have the power to make an exception to the general rule that a responsible pharmacist can only be in charge of one pharmacy at one time?

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA): Consultation “rationale is unclear”

“The NPA policy does not support remote supervision, for example for the responsible pharmacist to be in charge of more than one pharmacy at one time.

“It is unclear from the rationale outlined in this consultation as to the criteria that would be presented in order for the regulator to make an exception to this rule. The NPA asks as to whether this would be in routine circumstances or in exceptional cases such as adverse weather conditions or a ‘major incident’ situation.”

Read the NPA’s response in full here.

The Company Chemists’ Association (CCA): Change rules only in “rare force majeure exceptions”

“Overall, we continue to support the principle of ‘one pharmacy, one pharmacist’ because to remove this would be to materially change the role and nature of the responsible pharmacist.

“However, we agree in principle that pharmacy regulators should have the power to make exceptions to the rule that responsible pharmacists can only be in charge of one pharmacy at a time.

“We could particularly envisage that there may be some rare force majeure exceptions where the responsibilities of the actual or intended responsible pharmacist could be temporarily taken on by a pharmacist already fulfilling the duties at another pharmacy.”

Read the CCA’s response in full here.

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA): Patient safety is at risk

“This would create an unacceptable risk to patient safety and expose pharmacists unfairly to criminal and civil prosecution and regulatory sanctions, in working conditions that at present are poorly regulated, and for activities that occur in pharmacies in which they are not even present.”

Read the PDA’s response in full here.

The Twitter reaction

What do you think about the RPS's statements?

Related Content


Pharmacy Manager
Newquay, Cornwall
£ Competitive

Apply Now
Latest News & Analysis
See All



Ask The Analyst

Please Note: You can also Click below Link for Ask the Analyst
Ask The Analyst

Thank you for submitting your question. We will respond to you within 2 business days. my@email.address.

All fields are required.

Please make sure all fields are completed.

Please make sure you have filled out all fields

Please make sure you have filled out all fields

Please enter a valid e-mail address

Please enter a valid Phone Number

Ask your question to our analysts