In its response to a government consultation on the “roles and responsibilities of pharmacy owners, superintendents and responsible pharmacists” – which closed on Tuesday (September 11) – the RPS said it was in favour of allowing regulators to make exceptions to the rule that responsible pharmacists can only be in charge of one pharmacy at a time.
“Being the responsible pharmacist in charge of one pharmacy at any one time should be the norm,” the RPS said. “We expect any regulator to make this clear but to allow exceptions for emergencies where patient care would be compromised, such as extreme weather or a pandemic situation.”
Following the RPS statement on Wednesday (September 12), pharmacists raised concerns on Twitter that the society was condoning the running of pharmacies without a pharmacist present.
Community pharmacist Sham Kiani said the RPS’s statement was “remote supervision via the back door”, while Tohidul Islam, founder of The Pharmacist Cooperative, said he was rethinking his membership as the society's “tacit approval of remote supervision…doesn’t represent me or the majority of our profession”.
In a further statement issued yesterday (September 13) afternoon, RPS president Ash Soni stressed: “The RPS has always been clear that every pharmacy should have a responsible pharmacist.”
The RPS said that a responsible pharmacist should be allowed to supervise more than one pharmacy “only in emergencies”.
“We will be challenging the General Pharmaceutical Council to make sure there is a defined and specific description of the ‘exceptional’ circumstances where pharmacists, not employers, would use their judgement to make sure patients have access to essential medicines,” Mr Soni said.
“We recognise there is a spectrum of views and will make sure members have opportunities to shape this work.”
Read the RPS’s response in full here.
When the gates open it will most definitely be exploited by companies. Many already have protocols in place in the event remote supervision is allowed. If it is allowed very rarely and is successful, then they will try and take it to the next stage. What defines emergency?— Umer Ayyaz (@UmerAyyaz91) September 13, 2018
People may call me a fool (and probably do behind my back) but I'm not overly pessimistic about the @rpharms response on the "RP matter"— Darren (@PharmacistDaz) September 12, 2018
It depends how it is framed if it goes under the auspices of the regulator.
I remember one year walking miles between 3 pharmacies in a town
This isn't what is being said. Supervision is governed by a separate piece of legislation. This proposal re: RP regs is around exceptional circumstances for example a dispensing robot in a separate building - NOT remote supervision.— David Gallier-Harris (@GallierHarris) September 13, 2018
Exceptional circumstances get diluted over time. Thin end of wedge.— Mike Hewitson (@MikeHewitson1) September 13, 2018
I still do not understand the problem this is intended to solve. Please can someone involved in the RBB explain to me what they are trying to achieve.
Would expectional circumstances include bad weather, when thru can't find a locum cover or a company simply can't find cheap locums? Whats the exact definition of "exceptional circumstances"?— Tohidul Islam MRPharmS (@TohidMPharm) September 13, 2018