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Consultation on the Knowledge of English Regulations and associated Guidance

Opens 26 July 2023 and closes 26 September 2023

The Council of Pharmaceutical Society NI has launched an 8-week public consultation on proposed Regulations and the associated Guidance in respect of the Knowledge of English for pharmacists.

The Pharmacy (Northern Ireland) Order 1976 (‘the 1976 Order’) is the main legislation governing the regulation of pharmacists in Northern Ireland.  This legislation was amended by the Health Care and Associated Professions (Knowledge of English) Order 2015 (the ‘2015 Order’) to ensure that pharmacists in Northern Ireland have adequate knowledge of English to safely and effectively perform their roles.  The 2015 Order is UK-wide legislation and applies to a range of healthcare professionals including pharmacists, nurses and dentists.  Similar legislation has also been introduced in respect of doctors.

As a result of these amendments, the 1976 Order now provides that a person is not entitled to be registered as a pharmacist in Northern Ireland unless they satisfy any conditions as to their knowledge of English which are prescribed in regulations by the Society.

The Pharmaceutical Society of NI is now consulting all stakeholders on draft Regulations and Guidance which, in the view of the Society, will introduce fair and proportionate language controls for pharmacists in Northern Ireland.  All applicants and registrants will be required to have the necessary knowledge of English for safe and effective practice.

As this is a key requirement for registration, we would encourage all stakeholders to consider and respond to this consultation.

The proposed Regulations and Guidance should be of interest to the public and to patient representative bodies in Northern Ireland as it outlines what level of proficiency in English they can expect from a pharmacist.  It should also be of interest to pharmacy owners, superintendents, pharmacists and unregistered pharmacy staff.

The Consultation closes on 26 September 2023.

All responses to this consultation will be considered by the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society NI.

Further details and how to respond can be found in our current consultations here.