Layer 1

Decriminalisation delayed until autumn

Ken Jarrold: Determination and resilience are needed to get the required government clearances

It is disappointing that the planned legal defence from dispensing errors need more work, says Ken Jarrold, chair of the board overseeing the initiative

It is “unlikely” dispensing errors will be decriminalised before the autumn, the programme board set up to “rebalance” pharmacy regulation has revealed.

The Welsh and Scottish national elections, combined with MPs’ summer break, mean parliamentary bodies will need more time to review the legal defence from prosecution for pharmacy workers who make an inadvertent dispensing error, the programme board said on Monday (January 25).

The Department of Health (DH) told C+D in December that it expects to agree the draft change to the law this spring, and programme board chair Ken Jarrold said on Monday that he is “disappointed that further work is needed on the proposals”.

But Mr Jarrold added that he is “encouraged by the very strong commitment of ministers and board members to our work”. “Continued determination and resilience is needed to get the required clearances,” Mr Jarrold said.

The programme board said it is still “awaiting clearance” of the draft change to the law before it can be approved by the UK and devolved governments.

How will the government change the law?

A pharmacy professional or unregistered member of staff should have a defence against a criminal sanction for an inadvertent dispensing error if they meet "strict conditions". These include showing they had acted “in the course of [their] profession”, had made a supply on the back of a prescription or patient group directive, and “promptly” informed the patient about the error once discovered.

Criminal sanctions should only apply if there is proof "beyond reasonable doubt" that the pharmacist either misused their professional skills "for an improper purpose" or shown "a deliberate disregard for patient safety". Failing to follow the pharmacy's procedures would not constitute grounds for criminal proceedings on its own.

Source: DH consultation, February 2015


More decriminalisation news...

APPG presses House of Commons leader on decriminalisation

APPG 'surprised' by further decriminalisation delays

Parliament due to consider decriminalisation by Christmas



London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Lmao. You'd expect quite a healthy pay packet for such a job where you could be criminalised every day you go into work.

Peter McAuley, Community pharmacist

In other words, forget it will ever happen.

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

what a load of doublespeak rubbish 

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

I wonder how much Ken had been paid in fees during this whole sorry saga. Maybe C&D can do a FoI request to find out for us ? Some real reporting for a change and maybe unearth a real newstory rather than the preprinted press annoucements which it so likes to publish. Just saying...

Job of the week

Pharmacist Manager
Midlands, Cheshire & Dorset
Salary dependent upon experience