Retail pharmacists in Northern Ireland are set to be given greater autonomy over how to run their services under proposed new standards.
A Pharmaceutical Society Northern Ireland (PSNI) consultation on new premises standards for retail pharmacy businesses and registered pharmacies says current pharmacy premises standards should be simplified to be made less prescriptive and more focused on outcomes for patients.
It states: “With the expansion of pharmacy roles and changes to the way in which pharmacy services are being operated, these standards are intended to provide further assurance to [those] accessing pharmacy services, that patient safety is paramount. Pharmacy owners and superintendents will be given autonomy to validate the services they provide to patients and the public”.
In a move being made in advance of the The Pharmacy (Premises Standards, Information Obligations, etc.) Order 2016 becoming law in Northern Ireland, the draft premises standards must be met by all registered pharmacy premises in the country. The standards are shaped around five mandatory principles based on governance; the working environment; the patient and public experience of pharmacy services; condition of pharmacy services’ facilities; and equipment and staff, including training and accountability.
Pharmacists will be required to demonstrate evidence of compliance in meeting the standards during pharmacy inspections, although the PSNI stresses the compliance indicators are not an exhaustive list and should be used primarily as a guide.
PSNI head of public affairs Mark Neale said the organisation was keen to receive feedback from service users and the public as well as pharmacists.
He said: “Tens of thousands of people in Northern Ireland enter pharmacies each day. Our proposed Premises Standards aim to provide further assurance to patients and the public.”
The consultation began in October 2017 and is due to close at noon on 27 November 2017.