Decriminalising dispensing errors would not have "that big an impact" on how Boots employees felt about reporting mistakes because it already had a robust process in place, the multiple has claimed.
In an exclusive interview with C+D, Boots superintendent pharmacist Steve Banks said its pharmacy teams already felt able to "report, talk about and learn from errors", despite the threat of criminal prosecution.
"We've done a lot of work on developing the right culture in our stores and the right protocols and procedures" Steve Banks, Boots
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And former and current Boots employees C+D spoke to agreed the multiple had a supportive and open process in place.
While Mr Banks said it was important to press for decriminalisation, which the government said last week could take another three years to solve, he said the focus should be on "developing the right culture" around dispensing errors.
"We've done a lot of work on developing the right culture in our stores and the right protocols and procedures," Mr Banks told C+D. "We do record incidents that are important and that enables us to learn anything we need to."
His comments came despite a C+D reader poll suggesting last month that a third of community pharmacists kept quiet about colleagues' dispensing errors for fear of damaging working relationships.
Pharmacy teams at Boots kept a log sheet of near misses in the branch, while any dispensing errors that left the store were recorded on the company's intranet, the multiple confirmed.
An anonymous Boots pharmacist confirmed the company was quite strict on the reporting of errors, and did encourage "open discussion" about what had happened.
"We have logs in the dispensary to keep track of near misses and every month we do a patient safety review," the employee told C+D. "We have open discussions and look at whether there were any particular reasons behind it."
"If there's an error that actually leaves the dispensary, it's recorded on the Boots intranet," the pharmacist added.
The employee said he did not fear ramifications from the company or the police as a result of reporting an error. "If you've followed all the steps correctly and an incident does happen, you will be protected because you followed the procedure," he said.
Shaun Hockey, former Boots employee and managing director at locum agency PL-UK, said he had shared similar experiences and Boots was generally "very supportive" about error reporting.
"With Boots, the priority is protecting the brand so they tend to sort things out – we've never had a bad report from locums," Mr Hockey said.
An anonymous locum who worked for Boots said the company generally "realised errors happened" and would ask whether anything in the branch had contributed to the incident. But, speaking to C+D on Twitter, the locum voiced some concerns that pharmacist managers would be more likely to report locum'sdispensing errors than their own.
How are dispensing errors dealt with in your pharmacy?