As the Statutory Regulator for pharmacists in Northern Ireland we have a duty to ensure that everyone on our register is able to practise safely (fitness to practise) – we achieve this by having rigorous entry procedures to the register, by providing a framework of standards and guidance and by taking action to protect the public if a pharmacist’s Fitness to Practise is found to be impaired.
The Council of the Pharmaceutical Society NI has published new Indicative Sanctions Guidance for its Statutory Committee after carrying out an eight-week public consultation. The new Indicative Sanctions Guidance is designed to provide a decision-making framework to help the Statutory Committee make consistent, proportionate and reasonable decisions on what is an appropriate sanction, when a pharmacist’s Fitness to Practise has been found to be impaired. (www.psni.org.uk/psni/fitness-to-practise/)
The Guidance will come into operation on 27 March 2019. The existing Indicative Sanctions Guidance will remain in operation until this date.
Speaking about the new Indicative Sanctions Guidance, President of Council, Dr Jim Livingstone stated:
“Our primary objectives are to protect the public, uphold the reputation of the pharmacy profession and maintain Standards of Conduct and performance for pharmacists in Northern Ireland. The vast majority of pharmacists do an excellent job and have high approval ratings with the public. However, when things go wrong, and pharmacists make poor decisions, our Fitness to Practise processes are here to ensure that the public is adequately protected, and the public interest is upheld. We are not here to punish pharmacists and our focus is on getting pharmacists back to practicing safely and serving the public where possible.
“The Statutory Committee considers the most serious allegations of misconduct against pharmacists. It acts independently of Council and makes its decisions based on the merits of the case in front of it.
“The Indicative Sanctions Guidance exists to help panels of our Statutory Committee make consistent, proportionate and reasonable decisions when a pharmacist’s Fitness to Practise has been found to be impaired. The Guidance must be considered by the Statutory Committee when making a decision on Sanction and should be reflected in determinations. The Guidance should also be of interest to patients and service users thinking of making a complaint, as well as pharmacists and defence organisations.
“Council has given this Guidance focused consideration, including a very useful public consultation exercise, which helped to improve the final Guidance document and I would like to thank those who participated in this process. As well as providing clearer and more structured assistance, we have provided new guidance focused on some of the most serious areas of misconduct, including, dishonesty, sexual and violent misconduct, and the failure to comply with the duty of candour or raise concerns appropriately.
“Whilst we are publishing the new Guidance today, it will come into effect on 27 March 2019, allowing time for familiarisation by all interested parties”.
A copy of the new Indicative Sanctions Guidance can be found here – Indicative Sanctions Guidance – Effective From 27 March 2019
A copy of the Consultation Report can be found on the consultations page of our website, under Consultation Outcomes: Consultation Report