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PDA excluded from confidential pharmacy supervision discussions

PDA is part of a wider stakeholder group which contributes to DH programme board work
PDA is part of a wider stakeholder group which contributes to DH programme board work

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has “not been approached” about proposals to allow pharmacy technicians to supervise medicines supply, despite its role in a government stakeholder group.

C+D exclusively revealed on Wednesday (September 13) that detailed proposals for pharmacy technicians to be handed legal responsibility for supervising the supply of prescription-only medicines (POMs) have been submitted to a Department of Health (DH) programme board.

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, according to confidential documents seen by C+D.

The group suggested that a pharmacy technician could, in the pharmacist’s absence, undertake the “supervision role” of determining when medicine supplies can go ahead and “overseeing the activities of other, non-regulated, pharmacy staff”.

PDA "concerned"

PDA chair Mark Koziol said the trade body is “concerned” by the revelations in the documents. Despite being a member of a wider stakeholder group with ties to the DH’s programme board, the PDA was not aware of such proposals, he added.

“We can confirm that we have not been approached about this suggestion,” Mr Koziol said in a statement yesterday (September 14).

DH board “engagement process”

The PDA is a member of a 'partners forum', which was set up alongside the DH’s programme board in 2013 to allow wider pharmacy stakeholders to “contribute” to the board’s work on "rebalancing" medicines legislation and pharmacy regulation.

According to its terms of reference drafted at the time of the board's launch, the “engagement process the board has adopted will ensure the views of the public and patients, among others, are sought and considered effectively”.

However, Mr Koziol said there has not been a wider stakeholder group meeting “for several years”.

“The very fact that such proposals [on pharmacy supervision] could even have been drafted and were being discussed in private, without engagement from the wider profession, will have caused much concern among pharmacists,” he added.

The DH’s programme board “must increase transparency of its discussions in future, and make sure it listens to pharmacists working on the frontline”.

Pharmacy technicians' "important contribution"

The PDA said the “important contribution pharmacy technicians” make will clearly feature in any strategy for the future of the sector.

“However, [pharmacy technicians’] contribution must make pharmacists more accessible to the public…not less so, as is being advocated by the government's suggestion of remote supervision," it stressed.

“We know that a major reason why remote supervision isn’t already in place is because of widespread and consistent resistance to such proposals,” Mr Koziol added.

He called on any members who may be “concerned by this issue” to contact the PDA for support.  

Are you concerned by the pharmacy supervision proposals?

Independent Pharmacy Superintendent, Superintendent Pharmacist

Am quite looking forward to this coming to the fore.  Can't wait for the likes of Boots, Lloyds, Rowlands and the like to jump all over this as a way to reduce the Pharmacist costs.  As it stands now theres not 5 minutes that passes without the Tech interupting to ask this that andthe other.  I can see lots of unhappy patients, errors increasing, no pharmacist on premises prescriptions queries, tech can't do anything, patients asking for there Rx's back and visiting the Independent instead..........

Pharmacist Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

I am still waiting for a technician to comment on any articles. Or maybe they're too scared to speak. Or unable to speak????

Anonymous Anonymous, Information Technology

Most I've met can barely spell their own name so I'd say writing a comment may be an impossibility!

ndidi iwuchukwu,

patient safety will be comprimised and will put the profession down

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

You might want to do a little digging C&D. The waft coming from this debacle is very unpleasant.

S Pessina, Pharmacist Director

*This comment has been deleted for breaching C+D's community principles*

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

I'm sure the editor is busy doing interviews for Radio or other similar important tasks.

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

I find this disgraceful, as the technicians are represented but not rank and file pharmacists! One way to rob this 'rebalancing board' of credibility is for pharmacists to resign from the RPS en masse (who are conducting these talks in secrecy), unless we are properly represented. I personally know 2 of the pharmacists on the board (worked with them in the past), and I would trust neither of them to represent us due to conflicts of interests. The PDA is the only organisation in which I would place my trust.

S Pessina, Pharmacist Director

*This comment has been deleted for breaching C+D's community principles*

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

... never been a member of the Boots Pharmacists Association, for obvious reasons ... 

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

That makes one organisation that hasn't stabbed pharmacists in the back (read RPS and GPhC)

To my mind the PDA consistently and reliably express pharmacists concerns effectively.

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