Long-awaited dispensing error defence finally laid before parliament
A legal defence from criminal sanctions for pharmacists and staff who make an inadvertent dispensing error has been been laid before parliament today (November 14).
The Pharmacy (Preparation and Dispensing Errors – Registered Pharmacies) Order 2018 includes new defences relating to preparation and dispensing of medicines by registered pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and “persons supervised by them”, at “retail pharmacy premises”.
According to the order, the specific amendments to the Medicines Act 1968 relating to dispensing errors will “come into force on such days as the Privy Council may by order appoint”.
C+D has asked the Department of Health for clarification on this time frame.
The latest news about the error defence comes almost a year after Northern Irish pharmacist Martin White was handed a four-month suspended prison sentence for a dispensing error.
Since then, C+D clinical editor Kristoffer Stewart and blogger Xrayser have both called for inadvertent errors to be decriminalised, while C+D editor James Waldron wrote to the head of the pharmacy regulation “rebalancing” board to ask why the amendments to the law have been continually delayed.
The DH have since told C+D that it expects a debate to be scheduled between now and Christmas, and subject to parliamentary approval, the order will come into force early next year.
The Twitter reaction
Delighted to see Dispensing Errors Order laid today https://t.co/YUkYy7XEhq Many thanks to @BrineMinister, officials @DHgovuk and all programme board members for their commitment to delivering #rebalancing #pharmacy pic.twitter.com/Jk6RHMfL0q— Andrew Evans (@AndrewEvansCPhO) November 14, 2017
"And there was much rejoicing." https://t.co/3gK2boFtw0— Paul Knapton (@rincew1nd) November 14, 2017
Delighted to see Dispensing Errors Order legislation laid today. Many thanks to Ken Jarrold & all programme board members for the commitment to align Pharmacy with other healthcare professionals-look forward to more sharing & learning from error reporting to improve patient care pic.twitter.com/4FkBAAXoZZ— Rose Marie Parr (@rosemarieparr) November 14, 2017
Thanks for this. I promised it at your conference and like to stay true to me word!— Steve Brine MP (@BrineMinister) November 14, 2017
Regulations laid today give defence when #Pharmacy supplies wrong medicine. In force 12 December. How about Royal Pardons for Elizabeth Lee and Martin White?— David Reissner (@davidreissner) November 14, 2017