A raft of proposals aimed at “clarifying” the role of superintendent and responsible pharmacists was set out by the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) programme board tasked with "rebalancing" medicines legislation and pharmacy regulation in June.
Among the proposals, the board suggested “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 board also proposed removing the restriction for a superintendent pharmacist to oversee “only one retail pharmacy business” and for pharmacy regulators to “set professional standards for superintendents, which extend beyond the sale and supply of medicines, to other pharmacy services”.
The draft legislation changes were due to be laid before parliament in December 2018, but this has now been pushed back to March 2019, the board said on Monday (October 29).
Responses to the DH’s consultation – which closed on September 11 – “raised areas that require further consideration and clarification”, it said.
The board would not disclose to C+D the specific areas of concern raised in the consultation responses that has prompted the delay, and stressed that discussions remain confidential.
However, in its response to the consultation, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) said while it was in favour of allowing regulators to make exceptions to the rule, a responsible pharmacist should be allowed to be in charge of more than one pharmacy “only in emergencies”.
See how the other pharmacy bodies responded to this question in the consultation below.
The board will meet again “shortly” to consider the issues raised and aims to publish its response to the consultation before the end of the year, it told C+D.
The board’s “partners forum” will meet again in early 2019, which will provide further opportunity to discuss the draft proposals with stakeholders, it added.
"Still work to do"
Board chair Ken Jarrold said: “It was good to see a high level of engagement in responding to the consultation.
“The board is giving full consideration to what we heard, and there is still work left to do to make sure we have got it right.”
Read Mr Jarrold's blog on why he believes clarity is necessary around the superintendent and responsible pharmacist roles.