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Council publishes revised Raising Concerns (Whistleblowing) Guidance for Pharmacists

The Council of the Pharmaceutical Society NI has published updated Guidance on Raising Concerns (Whistleblowing) for Pharmacists in Northern Ireland. The work forms part of the regulator’s ongoing review of its Standards and Guidance documents, which support pharmacists in Northern Ireland to comply with the Professional Standards of Conduct, Ethics and Performance (2016), (the Code).  An individual is raising a concern (whistleblowing) when they bring to the attention of someone in authority a danger, risk, malpractice or wrongdoing within their place of work, which affects others. Those who raise a concern often do so to protect people receiving care, staff and the organisation itself from harm, before it is too late.

Commenting on the publication of the revised Guidance, Dr Jim Livingstone, the President of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society NI stated:

“Pharmacists in Northern Ireland have a professional duty to raise concerns when they believe standards of care, practices or behaviour fall below acceptable levels and potentially place the public at risk. This revised document aims to help pharmacists, employers and managers understand this duty better and provides guidance about how to go about raising concerns appropriately.

“Recent inquiries, such as those into Hyponatremia related deaths and the Gosport Memorial Hospital, demonstrate the important role organisational culture plays in empowering healthcare professionals and pharmacists to raise concerns in their place of work. Fostering a culture of openness, honesty and learning is vital to protect patients, whether it be in a single community pharmacy or within a Trust. For this reason, our revised document provides enhanced guidance on the responsibilities of employers and managers. Ensuring that pharmacists can speak openly and freely about their genuine concerns and not fear reprisal is crucial to protecting patients and stopping potentially small issues escalating into major incidences.

“I would like to thank our stakeholders for engaging with us in revising this important document and I would urge that all pharmacists, healthcare managers and employers in Northern Ireland read and apply the Guidance”.



The Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland’s Guidance on Raising Concerns (Whistleblowing) can be found here.

The Professional Standards of Conduct, Ethics and Performance for Pharmacists in Northern Ireland (2016), (the Code) can be found here.

This revised Guidance is published following a targeted stakeholder engagement exercise and Council approval.

All pre-registered trainee and registered pharmacists in Northern Ireland have been informed of the revised Guidance which is effective immediately.