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Mixed response from partners’ forum on proposed changes to responsible pharmacist rules

People in a meeting


Source: Picsfive/

The partners’ forum wants the board to clarify the professional relationship between the superintendent pharmacist and the RP

A group set up as a sounding board to the Government’s review of pharmacy regulation and legislation, has failed to give unanimous support to two proposals that would have allowed professional regulators to make changes to the roles and responsibilities of the responsible pharmacist (RP), instead of ministers.

Although a majority of the partners’ forum endorsed the suggestions, some expressed concerns and could not support them, the Government’s rebalancing medicines legislation and pharmacy regulation programme board said in a statement last week (10 December 2013). 

The partners’ forum — a group of pharmacy representatives, patients and the public which acts as a “sounding board and sense check” of board proposals — met earlier this month (2 December 2013) to discuss the board’s latest proposals to clarify the relationship between pharmacy owners, RPs and superintendent pharmacists.

There was “lack of agreement” on one proposal from the Government board that the General Pharmaceutical Council, rather than ministers, should be allowed to decide when to make an exception to the general rule that an RP only has responsibility for a single pharmacy at any given time.

The partners’ forum also failed to give unanimous support to a further proposal that the pharmacy regulator should be allowed to set rules that govern the absence of the RP from the pharmacy.  

The forum has now asked the programme board to do more work to clarify the professional relationship between the superintendent pharmacist and the RP.

The remaining 17 proposals from the programme board about roles and the relationship between the RP, the superintendent pharmacist and pharmacy owner were, however, endorsed by the forum at its meeting.

Ken Jarrold, chairman of the rebalancing medicines legislation and pharmacy regulation programme board, said after the forum’s meeting: “I am pleased that, overall, participants at the partners’ forum were supportive of the proposals relating to the superintendent pharmacist, responsible pharmacist and pharmacy owner. We will carefully consider all the views expressed.

“The board is committed to a full public consultation on all aspects of this work and will advise ministers and devolved administrations accordingly.”

He confirmed that the board will continue to take into account the views of pharmacy professionals, patients and the public and others before making its final proposals.

The lack of agreement by the forum members over transferring some powers away from ministers to the GPhC follows similar reservations expressed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society at the rebalancing programme board meeting in October. 

The RPS said then that it was concerned that the move could adversely impact on patient safety and stressed that the presence of a pharmacist in a pharmacy was the “best guarantee of patient safety”, according to the minutes of the meeting.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2013.11131990

Readers' comments (1)

  • Alia Arif   Removal of the RP is a cost cutting measure too far.Pharmacists must be physically present at all times to ensure patient safety.

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