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binding contractJanuary 27 2016

Changes to the law around decriminalising dispensing errors in community pharmacy is likely to be delayed until at least the autumn. Part of the delay is due to elections in the devolved assemblies talking place this spring.

The body reviewing pharmacy legislation heard at its November meeting that while good progress was being made, further work was required on the dispensing error proposals before draft Orders are laid before the Scottish and UK parliaments.

“Although every effort would be made, the process of clearance for this Order was unlikely to be completed to permit laying, in both the Scottish and UK Parliaments, ahead of the pre-election preparation period for the forthcoming elections in the Devolved Administrations,” said the statement issued by the Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board. It issued its statement on the November meeting on January 25.

Specifically, the Board heard that it was “awaiting clearance of the draft Order before moving to obtain cross government and Devolved Administrations (DA) clearance and then informal scrutiny by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments. Elections in the DAs mean that it is unlikely that the Order will be laid before the autumn, given the necessary time for the new governments to establish themselves and the closeness to the Summer Recess.”

In addition, the Board said that necessary work to enable a formal consultation in dispensing errors in hospital and other specified services was progressing, and the terms of reference for the subgroup on pharmacy supervision were to be published.

The Board was established in 2013 to review relevant pharmacy legislation and regulation to ensure it:

  • provides safety for users of pharmacy services
  • reduces any unnecessary legislation
  • allows innovation and development of pharmacy practice.

Since its last meeting a Pharmacy Standards Order had been laid before Parliament. Board Chair Ken Jarrold welcomed this saying it “will enhance the safe and effective provision of pharmacy services to patients and the public.”

However, he added: “While I am disappointed that further work is needed on the proposals to provide a defence for inadvertent dispensing errors by pharmacy professionals working in the community sector, I am encouraged by the very strong commitment of ministers and board members to our work. Continued determination and resilience is needed to get the required clearances.”

The Board will consult on superintendent pharmacists and the position o Responsible Pharmacist later in 2016.

Links:

Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board

RMS&PRP Board statement

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