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Chief pharmacists should not be seen as an optional extra: RPS

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The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) responds to consultation on the draft Standards for Chief Pharmacists

The professional leadership body for pharmacists has urged the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) to make it mandatory to have a chief pharmacist within organisations to ensure transparency for patients, the public and pharmacy staff.

On 23 January, the GPhC launched a consultation seeking views on the new draft Standards for Chief Pharmacists it has developed to strengthen pharmacy governance.

These standards outlined the professional responsibilities and qualifications required by a chief pharmacist to support their organisation and its staff to deliver “safe and effective” pharmacy services.

The pharmacy regulator highlighted the importance of having a registered chief pharmacist meeting these standards in hospitals (or relevant settings) to benefit from the new legislation regarding accidental errors.

In response to the consultation, the RPS expressed that while meeting these standards could enhance pharmacy governance, they may not provide the framework needed to fully support staff in reporting and learning from errors.

The RPS statement read: “The standards are more of a set of principles rather than a governance framework.”

It noted that the chief pharmacist’s leadership role should be considered a fundamental standard, and organisations should make it mandatory to have a chief pharmacist role rather than leaving it optional.

Further, the RPS suggested that the new standards should emphasise creating “an inclusive culture free from bullying and discrimination, with a zero-tolerance policy and celebration of diversity.”

Professor Claire Anderson, RPS President, said: “Chief Pharmacists have a vital role in supporting patient safety and pharmacy governance and should not be seen as an optional extra. Support in error reporting and a culture of safety and inclusivity is also vital for delivering safe and effective pharmacy services.”

Patients, carers, and members of the public think are encouraged to share their views “if there are any settings in which the standards could not be applied or met and any positive or negative impacts of the proposals.”

The consultation is open until Tuesday, 16 April.

 

 

 

 

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