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Medicines regulation and law

APPG chair urges government not to let Brexit delay dispensing errors legislation

Sir Kevin Barron has written to the health minister, Steve Brine, urging him not to delay further in laying the new legislation before Parliament.

Sir Kevin Barron MP

Source: Office of Kevin Barron MP

The chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group, Sir Kevin Barron, has told the health minister Steve Brine that further delays to the legislation would hinder patient safety through learning from reported errors

The chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pharmacy (APPG) has urged the government not to allow Brexit to delay new legislation on dispensing errors.

In a letter to health minister Steve Brine, APPG chair Sir Kevin Barron said he understood that the draft legislation extending the dispensing errors defence was to be “further delayed until at least June [2019]”.

The draft legislation, which was approved by the Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board Partners’ Forum in February 2019, was the subject of a consultation in 2018 that received 632 responses.

It proposed extending the defences that already exist for community pharmacists, in the case of accidental preparation and dispensing errors, to cover pharmacy professionals working in hospitals and other pharmacy services, such as in a prison.

Sir Kevin said in the letter that the defence for registered pharmacies came into effect in May 2018, but “was a long time in the making — some ten years after it was first agreed that it was necessary”.

“I know you were personally involved in ensuring that order was delayed no longer,” he added in his letter to the health minister.

“I appreciate that Brexit-related legislation may need to take priority in the allocation of parliamentary time, but this order is drafted and ready to lay, and it would be uncontentious.”

He continued: “It is important; reporting errors is a vital component in improving safety through learning. On that basis, I hope you will be able to ensure that it is not delayed until June or beyond.”

Ken Jarrold, chair of the Rebalancing Board, had warned in a statement in February 2019 that there would be a delay to passing the legislation owing to limited access to lawyers and parliamentary time.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206261

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