Trevor Patterson, Chief Executive of the Pharmaceutical Society NI said: We welcome the recent announcement by Jeremy Hunt in relation to improving the safety of medicines. The issues described are not confined to England and the devolved administrations are also looking at improvements in this area
A range of healthcare professionals have a role in promoting and delivering medicines safety – pharmacists have a front line role in assisting patients to take the correct medicine in the correct way every day.
Our regulatory role is designed to support pharmacists in their practice and to provide assurance to the public around safe and effective medicines usage.
To that end we very much welcome the introduction of new legislation to provide a defence in the case of dispensing errors – it has been recognised for many years that fear of prosecution may in some cases have inhibited reporting of errors and consequently reduced the capacity for the profession to learn from such incidents and thus prevent any repetition.
We updated our Code, which sets out the standards of conduct, ethics and performance for pharmacists in Northern Ireland in 2016. Within standard 1 of the new Code we have explicitly described a duty of candour – this is designed to ensure that an environment of openness and honesty exists within which patients and practitioners alike can contribute to a learning culture.
We will work with the Department of Health in Northern Ireland and other stakeholders to further explore ways of fostering a learning culture which protects patients and promotes professionalism.
An interview Jeremy Hunt discussing his announcement can be found here: www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/health-43167744/jeremy-hunt-drug-errors-causing-four-to-five-deaths-a-day