The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has submitted its response to the government’s consultation on superintendent and responsible pharmacists.
Regarding proposals for superintendent and responsible pharmacists, Ash Soni said:
“We agree with the aim of moving from legislation to regulation to better keep pace with changes in pharmacy practice. This will, however, place greater responsibility on the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) to ensure their regulatory standards and systems are robust enough to identify areas of risk, whilst still offering sufficient flexibility to empower pharmacists in their daily practice.
“It is important when reviewing any regulatory changes the GPhC must ensure that the public always have access to the expertise of a pharmacist to recognise their role as experts in medicines and ensuring public safety in the use of medicines. We would expect the regulator to ensure it particularly values the input of RPS in supporting and maintaining this position. Superintendents must have authority and autonomy over the professional aspects of the pharmacy business and this should be enshrined in legislation.
“The RPS has always been clear that every pharmacy should have a responsible pharmacist. This is also defined clearly in Chapter 4 of the RPS Medicines, Ethics and Practice: “…..the pharmacist can only be in charge of one registered premises at any one time.
“Our consultation response reinforces this view and it is also stated in our policy summary. 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. The majority of the members we engaged with over the consultation period were clear that it was only in emergencies that a Responsible Pharmacist could be responsible for more than one pharmacy.
“We as a profession, not employers or Government, need to lead the debate and create our own future – we must put pharmacy at the forefront of healthcare. By 2020 we will define professional standards for community pharmacy, working collaboratively across the profession and stakeholders. We recognise there is a spectrum of views and will make sure members have opportunities to shape this work.”