The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has developed two new resources, Keeping patients safe – being open and honest and Pharmacy team toolkit – learning from incidents. They bring together relevant existing policy, standards, and previous statements on the professional obligations of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, with respect to candour.

“The resources emphasise that the duty of candour is not an add on – it’s a fundamental part of pharmacy professional practice.”

The National Pharmacy Association and the Pharmacists’ Defence Association – as leading providers of professional indemnity – have also contributed to the new resources and highlighted the importance of openness and transparency in this context.

The additional toolkit for pharmacy teams includes real case studies and examples of notable practice about how pharmacy teams have learned from incidents, to improve patient safety outcomes and minimise the risk of these happening again. All pharmacy teams are urged to use the new toolkit to prompt learning and reflection during pharmacy team meetings or other discussions. Whilst the toolkit examples are drawn from the GPhC’s inspections of community pharmacies, the professional duty to be candid applies in all sectors of pharmacy practice.

Chief Executive of the GPhC, Duncan Rudkin, said:

“Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, across different settings, work hard to provide person-centred, safe and effective care to patients. But sometimes things go wrong. The way that professionals respond to these situations is key to supporting the people affected and improving patient safety for the future.

“Our new resources highlight the importance of saying sorry. Apologising to a patient does not mean that a professional is admitting legal liability for what has happened. It’s an acknowledgement that something could have gone better, and gives an opportunity for learning to improve patient safety outcomes and minimise the risk of the same thing happening again.”

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