The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) is becoming “increasingly concerned about incidents of unsafe practice”, after seeing a rise in the number of “critical incidents that may harm patients” involving GP pharmacists, it said yesterday (November 19).
It is also “in the early stages of dealing with cases where patient deaths have been reported”, it said.
The increase in serious incidents has emerged as the number of independent prescribers working in GP practices has risen, the PDA claimed.
“Some of these recent cases are linked in some way to pharmacists prescribing inappropriately or offering poor advice, often underpinned by an assumption of competence, which was ill-founded,” it explained.
The PDA urged members with prescribing responsibilities working in all settings to adopt “significant levels of caution” and highlighted four prescribing scenarios that would be considered “high-risk”.
These are: prescribing for patients when they are not physically present; prescribing without reference to a patient's clinical records; prescribing for walk-in patients where diagnosis may be required; and prescribing different medicines during shortages.
While the General Pharmaceutical Council sets standards and expectations on the conduct of employers, “healthcare professionals are responsible for their own conduct and will be held accountable for their actions”, the PDA warned.