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PDA discusses future options for responsible pharmacist regulations with Department of Health

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association met officials from the Departmentof Health last week to make a last minute appeal to delay theintroduction of the responsible pharmacist regulations that will, forthe first time, allow a pharmacist to be absent from a pharmacy for upto two hours during normal business hours

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association met officials from the Department of Health last week to make a last minute appeal to delay the introduction of the responsible pharmacist regulations that will, for the first time, allow a pharmacist to be absent from a pharmacy for up to two hours during normal business hours.

The PDA wants the department to allow a trial run of the regulations so that any practical problems can be solved before they come into force on 1 October 2009.

PDA chairman Mark Koziol said the department “took a constructive interest in our concerns” and a number of possible future options about the regulations were discussed.

He said after the meeting: “Because a trial run could be detached from any new statutory consequences, pharmacists would be able to try out some of the new processes that are required under the regulations such as recording the signing on or off, maintaining or amending SOPs and complying with the ‘pharmacist in charge’ signage arrangements without fear that, if they get it wrong, there could be serious consequences.”

In a statement the DoH confirmed that it was listening to views on the introduction of the regulations but a spokeswoman refused to say whether the department would agree to the PDA’s request for a delay.

The statement said it was also seeking views on a proposed amendment to the regulations that will allow pharmacists to be in charge of more than one pharmacy at the same time for a temporary period as part of a planned response to the influenza pandemic.

The PDA’s latest appeal for a delay comes almost a month after the Royal Pharmaceutical Society sought clarification from the DoH about elements of the regulations, but held back from demanding that the 1 October date for their introduction be changed.

The PDA meeting with the DoH also comes a month after the results of its survey of 2,000 pharmacists were released and which revealed that 90 per cent of respondents felt ill-prepared for the new working practices the regulations will introduce.

Some 93 per cent reported that the profession was not ready or only partly ready for the changes.

The survey also revealed that 22 per cent of respondents intended to retire from practice when the regulations come in, or not to work until they are clear about the impact the regulations will have on their professional practice.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10976149

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