Ash Soni, the president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), has urged the rebalancing medicines legislation and pharmacy regulation programme board to regularly meet with pharmacy’s “wider stakeholder group” and update it on proposals on supervision.

The rebalancing board, of which Soni (pictured) is a member, has been criticised in recent weeks for a lack of engagement and transparency. The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) described it as a “bunker” and attacked it for refusing to engage on the plans with a wider stakeholder group of which the PDA is a part.

The Board has indicated it will consult on the proposals around supervision, including those allowing technicians to oversee the supply of medicines to patients, with stakeholders and the public but Soni went a step further by calling on it to meet with stakeholders on a regular basis and said the RPS would host its next meeting.

“It’s important that all voices are heard by the government in the debate around supervision. We will be engaging with members across the three countries (England, Scotland and Wales) to listen to their thoughts to ensure that the RPS view is informed by as many members as possible,” he said.

“In the same spirit, we call on the rebalancing board to reinvigorate the wider stakeholder group and ensure this meets with the board on a regular basis in order to provide clarity about new proposals and share news.

“There is real value in bringing people together more often to ensure there is an opportunity for two-way dialogue and have offered to host the next meeting of the stakeholder group at the Society.”

The Board said it had “no firm proposals” on supervision following its meeting on October 23 but conceded “that further work is needed to listen to the concerns that have been raised.”

However the Board, whose next meeting is on February 22 next year, said an order for the decriminalisation of dispensing errors had received government clearance and would be laid before parliament by Christmas.

“The Department of Health is continuing to progress two draft orders on dispensing errors for pharmacy professionals working in hospitals and other specified pharmacy services and super-intendent pharmacists and responsible pharmacists. A public consultation on both measures is expected in early 2018,” the Board said.

Soni said: “Decriminalisation of dispensing errors remains a key priority for the RPS and we are working hard to make sure this happens.”

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