The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has written to pharmacy owners and superintendents to highlight key aspects of the relevant standards in helping to ensure services are provided safely.

In its letter, it wrote:

“We are writing to you at a time when the provision of a wider range of services by community pharmacies is increasing across Great Britain. These services include Pharmacy First in England, NHS Pharmacy First in Scotland, and the Common Ailments Service in Wales.

“The services that have been commissioned in England, Scotland and Wales are all different, but they all enable community pharmacy teams to play an even greater role in providing high-quality treatment and care to members of the public. They also recognise the expertise of pharmacists as trusted health experts.

“We know that pharmacy teams are offering a wider range of services whilst there continue to be significant pressures and demands on community pharmacy services.

“With any service being provided, we expect you, as pharmacy owners and superintendent pharmacists, to carefully consider how you will meet the standards for registered pharmacies and supporting guidance, including the guidance to support a safe and effective pharmacy team.”

Continued below.

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“To ensure patient safety, owners and superintendent pharmacists need to continually assess staffing levels and skill mix to make sure there are enough staff that have sufficient training, knowledge and skills to be able to provide all pharmacy services safely and effectively.

“We recognise that offering a wider range of services brings challenges as well as opportunities. It is essential that you ensure your pharmacy teams are supported and empowered to exercise their professional judgement in the interests of patients and the public. This includes a pharmacist considering whether they can safely offer a service at a particular time and in a particular situation, after considering the available staffing and the other resources that may be required to ensure patient safety.

“All members of the pharmacy teams must have the ability to raise any concerns in a professional environment which encourages openness, honesty and continuing development and learning.

“Our standards and guidance are a resource to help you and your professional workforce ensure that current and new services are provided in ways which keep patients and staff safe. We will continue to monitor if the required standards are met as part of our inspection processes.” 

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