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Council of Pharmaceutical Society NI pauses public consultation on Guidance on the Provision of Services

At its meeting on 26 November 2019, the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society NI considered a proposal to launch a public consultation on new Guidance on the Provision of Services for pharmacists in Northern Ireland.

The proposed Guidance on the Provision of Services covers issues relating to pharmacists’ obligations to patients and their individual rights in circumstances of conscientious objection; patients and service users being violent, threatening violence or being abusive; and instances when a medicine or medicinal product is out of stock or unavailable.

Council considered the draft guidance in the context of the recently introduced Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 and the Northern Ireland Office’s current consultation on ‘A legal framework for abortion services in Northern Ireland’. Council noted that the development of its proposed guidance began before this legislative change was introduced at Westminster and the draft therefore takes no account of this legislative change. Council’s proposed advice on issues of conscience relates to existing pharmacy services and the then current legal framework on the provision of services. Council considered the potential impact the planned changes to the legal framework and associated guidance for abortion services may have on its proposed guidance.

Based on these considerations, Council decided to pause the launch of the public consultation to assess the outcome of the Government’s consultation and the new legal framework related to abortion services in Northern Ireland. Council will look to subsequently review and revise the proposed Provision of Services Guidance, where necessary, and then proceed to a public consultation.

The proposed Guidance on the Provision of Services will not make any changes to the existing Code of Conduct, Ethics and Performance (2016)  and pharmacists should refer to this core Standards document.

02 December 2019