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Council launches public consultation on new Provision of Services Guidance

The Council of the Pharmaceutical Society NI has today (08 July 2020) launched a 12-week public consultation on draft Guidance on the Provision of Services for pharmacists in Northern Ireland.

The proposed guidance primarily provides help to pharmacists when considering their obligations under Principle 1 of the Code – Always put the patient first – and Standard 1.1.5 – If, for any reason you are unable to provide a professional service, you have a professional responsibility to take reasonable steps to refer the patient or service user to an appropriate alternative provider for the service they require.

The proposed guidance covers the following three main areas relating to the provision of services:

  • the impact of a pharmacist’s religion and/or beliefs on their willingness to provide a specific service;
  • a patient or service user is violent, threatens violence or is verbally abusive; and
  • the medicine, service or medicinal device is not currently in stock or available.

Speaking about the launch of the public consultation, Dr Jim Livingstone, President of the Pharmaceutical Society NI said:

These are important and sensitive proposals designed to assist pharmacists to navigate complex situations. The proposals outline how Pharmacists should protect the rights of patients to access the care and services they need. It further acknowledges pharmacists’  right to conscience and working in a safe and fair environment”.  

“At the heart of this proposed guidance is an emphasis on sensitive, clear and appropriate communication. This is communication between pharmacists and patients, pharmacists and their employers and between pharmacists”.

“The document stresses the important role of employers in the areas covered and it will also be of particular interest to patients and patient groups, as it outlines what they can expect from their pharmacist”.

“We have given significant and careful consideration to this consultation and Council is grateful to those organisations and individuals that have already assisted in its development. We encourage all interested parties to respond to this public consultation. Council will be giving careful consideration to the feedback received, especially in relation to the potential equality and diversity issues relating to our proposals”.


The Consultation will run from Wednesday 08 July 2020 to 12 noon on Wednesday, 30 September 2020.

A copy of the proposed Provision of Services Guidance and all the relevant documents and information necessary to participate in the consultation can be found here.