The suggestion, included in a raft of proposals aimed at “clarifying” the role of superintendent and responsible pharmacists, has been set out by the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) programme board tasked with "rebalancing" medicines legislation and pharmacy regulation.
The proposals include the government handing regulators the General Pharmaceutical Council and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland power to “set out how the purpose of these roles should be fulfilled in professional regulation”.
As well as opening up the possibility of superintendent pharmacists overseeing more than one pharmacy business, the board proposed that “pharmacy regulators set professional standards for superintendents, which extend beyond the sale and supply of medicines, to other pharmacy services”, according to slides from a meeting it held last month (February 22).
Exemption option for responsible pharmacists
The board also proposed “retaining [the] general rule that a pharmacist can only be the responsible pharmacist for one pharmacy at the same time”.
However, it plans to pass regulators “power to specify an exception” to this rule.
The consultation will aim to “clarify that the responsible pharmacist duty extends to pharmacy businesses ‘at or from’ the premises for which the responsible pharmacist is in charge – eg home deliveries”.
The board plans to hold a 12-week public consultation on its proposals, “including draft legislation”, next month, it added.
In a statement following the meeting, board chair Ken Jarrold urged interested parties to respond to the consultation, “to ensure we have got it right”.
“Subject to government clearance, we expect [the draft legislation] to be issued shortly for public consultation,” he added.
“An opportunity to have your say”
Royal Pharmaceutical Society president – and member of the board – Ash Soni told C+D that the consultation “is an opportunity for people to have their say”.
“But we’ve always been clear that the overarching principle is that each pharmacy must have an individual responsible pharmacist,” he stressed.