NHS England has postponed plans for community pharmacists to name their pharmacy when they report patient safety incidents until after the law is changed to decriminalise dispensing errors, according to national negotiators.
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) says that community pharmacy reports to the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) are expected to remain anonymised until early 2016.
The change will only be introduced once the government’s Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board has completed its reform of the law, which will remove the threat of a pharmacist facing a criminal prosecution for a dispensing error.
The requirement to name pharmacies involved in patient safety incidents was part of the 2014–2015 national funding settlement for community pharmacy agreed with the government in September 2014.
“We are pleased that NHS England has recognised the importance of aligning the changes to incident reporting and decriminalising dispensing errors,” says Alastair Buxton, head of NHS services at the PSNC. “But this delay does not mean that we can ignore our commitment to increasing reporting levels; we still need to ensure that pharmacy contributes towards the NHS safety culture by reporting, sharing and learning from patient safety incidents.”
Gary Warner, an independent contractor and member of the PSNC’s negotiating team, added: “Increasing the proportion of errors being reported to the NRLS is a key way in which we can show just how committed we already are to this important agenda, and I hope it is something that contractors will start to think about sooner rather than later.”