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NPA slams 'dubious' and 'irresponsible' pharmacy supervision proposals

NPA: Government officials must get in line on pharmacy supervision proposals

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has branded proposals for pharmacy technicians to oversee prescription-only medicines supply “dubious” and “irresponsible”.

The NPA said it reacted with “alarm” to detailed proposals for pharmacy technicians to be handed legal responsibility for supervising the supply of prescription-only medicines (POMs), which have been submitted to a Department of Health (DH) programme board.

C+D exclusively revealed on Wednesday (September 13) that a working group, established by the UK’s four chief pharmaceutical officers, has suggested amending legislation to allow a “registered pharmacy professional” – such as a pharmacy technician – to supervise the sale and supply of pharmacy (P) medicines and POMs.

NPA chairman Ian Strachan said the “dubious thinking” behind the proposals would put patients at risk from “healthcare on the cheap”.

“Medicines have the power to harm as well as heal, and it’s irresponsible even to contemplate downgrading safety procedures in pharmacies,” he stressed.

Government officials must “get in line”

Last month, health secretary Jeremy Hunt attempted to “reassure” a locum pharmacist about rumours that the government will allow pharmacy technicians to legally supervise medicines supply.

In light of the confidential proposals revealed by C+D, Mr Strachan called on the health secretary to “tell his officials to get in line with the commitments he himself has made on patient safety”.

“Pharmacy technicians play an important role in pharmacy teams, but this is not the same role as the pharmacist, who undergoes years of pharmacological training in order to qualify,” Mr Strachan stressed.

“The curriculum for technicians is very different.”

“Pharmacists intervene on millions of occasions each year to prevent prescribing errors. Without those interventions, there is no doubt that some patients would come to serious harm,” he added.

Read how the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has responded to the pharmacy supervision proposals here.

9 Comments
Question: 
Are you concerned by the pharmacy supervision proposals?

Disillusioned Sussex chic, Dispenser Manager/ Dispensing Assistant

Multiples who only employ pharmacist managers should rethink. I believe that all pharmacies should have a separate pharmacist to the manager. this would cause the pharmacist less stress and allow them to concentrate on what they do best. the separate manager can concentrate on the 'running' of the complete store, a job that surely a pharmacist manager struggles to juggle.

Zaffar Mohammed,

This is a revenue decision and will be inevitable. The technicians will always have a way out, and pharamcist will still be responsible. Why because no under-writer worth his salt will give medical negligence to vocational staff?

fatnose pansies, Sales

Hang on... Pharmacy Voice (which was on the supervision working group and the rebalancing board in 2016, when the discussions took place) was meant to be representing the NPA! If it wasn't representing the NPA's views, that means it was only representing the multiples in those discussions...

Marcus Jones, Student

Its time we start looking out for ourselves and protecting our profession, we need to get all pharmcists on the move and start protesting against these changes and the current poor working evnironment forced upon us by the maultiples.

Its now time to start takign action!

ndidi iwuchukwu,

I have a youtube channel with good views. I could do a video about it and make it go viral. we need to take a stand and talk about issues that affect us. They are so many pharmacist out they just not saying a thing its a shame.

Raymond Anderson, Community pharmacist

Do we see GP surgeries without GP's? I don't think so. However we do need to change the way we work, delegate technical roles to trained staff, engage in being more patient focused while being present in the pharmacy ensuring standards of care are delivered. 

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

I suggest collaboration between pharmacists. Pharmacies ought to have more than one pharmacist where necessary who can work together in best interests of patients. Some roles should not be delegated to anyone other than a second pharmacist and that includes clinical checking, supplying p meds and supervising pharmacy staff  

Hadi Al-Bayati, Locum pharmacist

Does this mean Pharmacy Technicians will get jail sentences for doing a job they are not trained for when people are harmed?

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

NPA chairman Ian Strachan said the “dubious thinking” behind the proposals would put patients at risk from “healthcare on the cheap”.

“Medicines have the power to harm as well as heal, and it’s irresponsible even to contemplate downgrading safety procedures in pharmacies,” he stressed.

Well said!

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