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RPS patient safety professional standards updated


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These updated professional standards apply to the entire pharmacy team, regardless of setting, practice or level of expertise

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), along with the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) and the Pharmacy Forum Northern Ireland (PFNI), has revised its patient safety professional standards, extending them to include all roles and sectors within the pharmacy.

According to the RPS, these standards support pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy teams when responding to patient safety incidents.

The update replaces the 2016 version, called the RPS Professional standards for the reporting, learning, sharing, taking action and review of incidents.

in 2018, a legal defence for dispensing errors for registered pharmacies was introduced, which was further extended to hospitals and other pharmacy services in 2022.

The revision was overseen by an expert steering group, which incorporated feedback from both patients and specialists in patient safety.

Regina Ahmed, guidance manager, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, UK elaborated that the professional standards and guidance produced by RPS provide a framework to support pharmacy professionals and pharmacy teams to “develop their professional practice, improve services, shape future services, and deliver high quality patient care.”

“This set of evolved standards are the fruitful outcome of the collaboration between professional leadership bodies alongside patient safety subject matter experts. Their implementation will help demonstrate the patient safety culture we wish to see in all pharmacy teams,” she added.

The updated standards describe clear expectations and outcomes to help pharmacy professionals demonstrate good and effective professional practice, patient safety and systems of care, and provide support to meet regulatory standards.

Pharmacy professionals are also provided a framework for reflecting, reporting and recording incidents, sharing learning, taking action and reviewing and evaluating incidents as part of a patient safety culture.

As stated by the RPS, the new standards can also be used to “inform, develop and implement local and organisational policies and services.”

These standards should be implemented when conducting risk assessments for new services and adopting new and emerging technologies, it added.

Additionally, the update includes new supporting resources, including case studies, as well as new legislation and updated guidance from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and NHS England.

Nicola Stockmann, President of APTUK, said that the updated standards can be used by the entire pharmacy team to “assist with professional judgement and management of events, including supporting those impacted.”

Furthermore, they can be used to identify sustainable system improvements, facilitating both shared and individual learning, he added.

Julie Greenfield, Pharmacy Forum NI Manager, said: ‘’By working together, the review and update of the standards and guidance aligns with current best practice, is relevant for all pharmacy team members and importantly ensures consistency UK-wide.’’

RPS added that pharmacy professionals who adhere to its professional standards and guidance can be assured that these measures assist in fulfilling the broader regulatory standards outlined by the GPhC.




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