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Pharmacy Regulation Monthly – October 2022

Each month I prepare a note of the most interesting or important regulatory developments in community pharmacy over the preceding month(s).  October 2022 found us talking about the following:

We have a new Secretary of State for Health – again!  On 25 October, Steve Barclay was appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.  The new Minister with responsibility for pharmacy within DHSC is Neil O’Brien OBE.

As the workforce crisis within pharmacy continues, leading to more unplanned pharmacy closures, PSNC has issued a helpful reminder of the correct procedure to be followed in order to avoid breaching the terms of service mandated by The National Health Service (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013.  The checklist can be viewed here.

Primary Care Appeals (the division of NHS Resolution responsible for determining pharmacy market entry appeals, amongst other responsibilities) has launched a new update service.  If you would like to be notified of pharmacy market entry decisions on a monthly basis, you can sign up here.

We’ve previously written about the new requirement for contractors to undertake “an approved workforce survey annually, in an approved manner”.  The deadline for returning your first survey is 30 November 2022.  Contractors should by now have received an invitation from the NHS BSA to complete the survey.  If you haven’t, please email ASAP.

Two new pieces of legislation are expected to come into force on 1 December 2022.  Those are The Pharmacy (Preparation and Dispensing Errors – Hospital and Other Pharmacy Services) Order 2022 and The Pharmacy (Responsible Pharmacists, Superintendent Pharmacists etc.) Order 2022.  The Orders arise from the recommendations of The Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board.  We’ve previously updated you regarding these pieces of legislation, but again highlight that the Responsible Pharmacists, Superintendent Pharmacists etc Order in particular will eventually result in substantial changes to the legal duties of both Superintendents and Responsible Pharmacists.  The first step following 1 December 2022 will be a period of consultation by the GPhC and PSNI, as the bodies who will acquire new powers pursuant to the legislation.

As part of its Strategy For Change 2021 – 2026, the GPhC has published new guidance on its approach to initial assessment or triage of fitness to practise concerns.  The new test which the GPhC will apply is “Does the information suggest a pharmacy professional’s fitness to practise may be currently impaired?”.  In our view this is an improvement on the GPhC’s previous approach and should result in only serious matters, capable of amounting to a future finding of impairment of fitness to practise, progressing through the GPhC process.

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