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APPG 'surprised' by further decriminalisation delays

The APPG predicted in October that the changes to the law would be considered in parliament by December 25

The all-party pharmacy group has expressed disappointment that a defence from dispensing errors will not be passed to MPs before the end of the year


The all-party pharmacy group (APPG) is "surprised and disappointed" MPs will not consider the decriminalisation of dispensing errors before Christmas. 

The APPG announced in October that changes to the law to create a legal defence from prosecution for pharmacy workers who make an inadvertant dispensing error were expected to be passed to MPs by December 25. But the Department of Health (DH) told C+D on Monday (December 7) that this timescale is incorrect. 

The draft change to the law is still being cleared and is expected to be agreed in spring 2016, the DH stressed.

The APPG responded that it is "concerned about the time it has already taken to reach this point". "It is vital the DH pushes forward this reform with the urgency it deserves," APPG chair Sir Kevin Barron MP told C+D.

Mr Barron said the group had "welcomed" the DH consultation on the changes earlier this year, and stressed the "current situation compromises patient safety by discouraging error reporting".

"We will be raising this matter with ministers," he added. 

In March, the APPG listed decriminalisation in its manifesto for the Conservative government's first 100 days in power. In September, Sir Kevin pledged to use his influence to ensure the necessary change to the law received support from MPs.


Do you think the slow progress of decriminalisation is affecting patient safety? 

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Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

I am surprised that APPG is surprised There are no votes in this and for DoH there is no saving, so they don't care Get real

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

I've said it before and I will say it again- we do not want a legal defence against prosecution. That is no use to pharmacists. What we want is true decriminalisation of dispensing errors that did not arise due to wilful negligence.

Disappointed? - yes, Surprised? - not in the slightest.

Bal Singh, Locum pharmacist

I guess the ministered weren't succiently "supported" or recieved enough party donation to change it. That's how politics worms/works

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

they must be the only ones then!

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

Ken Jarrold. Need we say more ?

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