The Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists (GHP) welcomes progress in the provision of a new legal defence for Pharmacy professionals should an unintentional dispensing error be made, as debated on Monday in Parliament.
Unlike other health professionals, Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians are currently at risk of criminal prosecution for a strict liability offence when inadvertent human error happens in the course of their professional practice. This draft order, which is due to come into force in 2018, aligns Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians who are working in registered pharmacies with other health professions. It supports increased reporting of errors, without the fear of prosecution, and allows for individual and shared learning from those mistakes, leading to improved patient safety.
Chair of the GHP Graeme Richardson said ‘An open culture is key to ensuring patient safety, and this Order encourages greater reporting of and therefore learning from errors.
‘Whilst we welcome this protection for people working in registered pharmacy premises, we would encourage the same protection to be afforded to staff working in non-registered premises including hospitals, care homes and prisons. We are aware plans are in place for a similar order to apply to those other non-registered settings and we hope this can be developed without delay to ensure our members are not unduly and unfairly exposed to the risk of criminal conviction any longer than is necessary’