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DH board: What pharmacy supervision problem are we trying to solve?

DH board: Any legislation should enable pharmacy professionals to make their own decisions
DH board: Any legislation should enable pharmacy professionals to make their own decisions

The government board behind proposals to allow pharmacy technicians to supervise the sale of prescription medicines has asked itself: “What is the problem we are trying to solve?”.

C+D exclusively revealed in September that detailed proposals for pharmacy technicians to be handed legal responsibility for supervising the supply of prescription-only medicines (POMs) had been submitted to a Department of Health and Social Care (DH) programme board.

Following a backlash from many parts of the sector, C+D reported last month that the board has apparently gone “back to square one” on its proposals.

In documents published last week (March 6), the board revealed that a gathering of its 'partners forum' in February had produced a “key theme” – that “there is a need for better articulation of the board’s remit on [pharmacy] supervision”.

“What is the problem we are trying to solve?” the board asked in its notes from the meeting.

The board had used the meeting to “remind” attendees – which included representatives of the Pharmacists' Defence Association and the National Pharmacy Association – “that there are no firm proposals associated with the supervision of the preparation, sale and supply of medicines”.

"Need for bigger picture"

The board also accepted “the need for a clearer view of the bigger picture” in regards to pharmacy supervision, “especially health policy across the four home countries”.

It stressed “there is a difference between the role of a pharmacist and pharmacy technician”.

“The topic of supervision should not be about trying to equate the two professions, but should include making better use of the rich skill mix in pharmacy.”

“Any future legislation should be enabling – allowing pharmacy professionals and pharmacies to make their own decisions about how they should work as regards to supervision, to suit their operating model,” the board added.

“A great deal of uncertainty and confusion”

Board chair Ken Jarrold (pictured) said “there has been a great deal of uncertainty and confusion on what supervision means in the context of pharmacy”.

“It is encouraging to hear that professional organisations are seeking views from their memberships to inform future discussion and the board is committed to further engagement with the partners forum.”

What other "key themes" came out of the meeting on pharmacy supervision?

  • “It is essential that patient safety is not compromised as a result of any changes”

  • “The entire pharmacy profession wholeheartedly supports the need for patient access to pharmacists”

  • “Any changes should look to increase the opportunity for pharmacists to engage appropriately and effectively in clinical activity. There are some barriers that prevent them from doing this at present”

  • “It may be useful to draw on models of pharmacy practice internationally and also in hospital pharmacy settings in terms of skill mix, to see how these may translate to community pharmacy”

  • “It would be important to consistently engage the regulators for pharmacy and healthcare across the UK with any proposals”

  • “It was acknowledged that the situation in Northern Ireland is different, in the absence of registered pharmacy technicians. Any decision to register technicians there in the future is a matter for ministers, and would be subject to the usual government procedures.”

Source: Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board statement, March 6, 2018

 

Where does the sector stand on technicians supervising pharmacies?

In November, C+D gathered leading industry figures for a heated discussion on the pharmacy supervision proposals. You can listen to the full debate in the podcast below, or click here to find out C+D's highlights from the event.

6 Comments
Question: 
Do you think that regulations around the supervision of pharmacies need to change?

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

"Any future legislation should be enabling – allowing pharmacy professionals and pharmacies to make their own decisions about how they should work as regards to supervision"

So still want to make changes to supervision but discreetly.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

"a monkey can check a box matches a ticket and squiggle an initial on it"

Unfortunately when this Monkey does a mistake and leads to a death of a Human, then the Monkey with a certificate and signed in as Responsible Monkey for that day is the one who has to face the consequenses !!! So keep your bananas to yourself and your masters, and let the Monkeys with Certificate do their job. Get it ???

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

What has who ticks the box got to do with it, nothing the checker can carry the can end of story, No confusion...

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

"What pharmacy supervision problem are we trying to solve?" The answer to that question is quite clear to me ... the 'supervision problem' is (the board obviously think) using pharmacists is too expensive! Is there another way of putting this in plain English?

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

These guys come from another planet. They say...“Any future legislation should be enabling – allowing pharmacy professionals and pharmacies to make their own decisions about how they should work as regards to supervision, to suit their operating model,” They need to get real. Pharmacy professionals have no say whatsoever in the thousands of multiple owned pharmacies they work in. If a large multiple said there will be a video-link pharmacist on duty remotely then that is what will happen. End of. 

The problem they are trying to solve was expressed up by Simon Stevens. Why are we "spending around £2.8 billion in order to "dole out £8 billion-worth of medicines"?

This is about one simple thing. Removing the need to have a pharmacist present in a pharmacy when it is open. Then there will be more cuts. 

We all need to get trained as prescribers or Uber drivers or whatever because our days of being rewarded to providing a high quality and safe pharmaceutical service are drawing to a rapid end. 

Trouble is that vertically integrated large chain store groups are very happy for this to happen as they now make more money from drug wholesaling than from retail pharmacy.

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

I don't see giving PTs PoM supervison and P sale authority as a problem whatsoever, as this a green light to free up pharmacists to use enhanced skills such as IP, travel clinics, medication review, flu vaccination, chronic disease management, flu vaccination and more.

 

I mean a monkey can check a box matches a ticket and squiggle an initial on it, as there is no skill involved that cannot be passed onto a technician for goodness sake.

 

Community pharmacist checker a monkey with a certificate......lol x

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