Plans to change the law around pharmacy supervision “will not be easy”, especially in England, the chair of the government-appointed board set up to push through the reforms has warned.
In a statement released on 24 February 2017, Ken Jarrold, chair of the Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board, said: “I accept that progress on the issue of supervision will not be easy in the difficult atmosphere we are facing, particularly in England.
“However, even here we can continue with valuable preparatory work, because it is clear across the UK that pharmaceutical clinical skills will be increasingly in demand wherever patients need care.”
Work to reform medicines legislation, including around the supervision of the sale and supply of medicines through pharmacies, has been dogged by delays; the terms of reference for the rebalancing board’s supervision working group were published on 7 January 2016.
The group was set up to make recommendations to the board about the future of supervision and is tasked with ensuring that patients, the public and other healthcare professionals have access to “clinical pharmacists”, while ensuring that the sale and supply of medicines from registered pharmacies remains safe and becomes more efficient.
“This includes the deployment of modern technologies and more effective use of the whole pharmacy team, including registered pharmacy technicians,” the terms state.
Ash Soni, former president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and a member of the rebalancing board’s supervision working group, says: “Supervision is a very complex issue and without clarification about the governance arrangements around pharmacy owners, superintendent pharmacists and responsible pharmacists, it’s going to be difficult to see how supervision can be changed.”
“This whole issue is particularly important given the concerns that pharmacists have about the changes around funding being applied to the community pharmacy contract [in England].”
Under current medicines legislation, activities in the pharmacy that have to be supervised by a pharmacist are the provision of prescription only medicines and pharmacy medicines and the labelling and boxing of medicines.