The General Pharmaceutical Council and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland have issued a joint statement on their “Regulatory approach in challenging circumstances“.
The statement includes the following important information and advice about unavoidable absences:
- We recognise there may be situations where the responsible pharmacist unavoidably has to leave the pharmacy at short notice part-way through the day, (e.g. if they are unwell and need to self-isolate).
- Where no locum cover can be secured at the pharmacy, and recognising the potential effects of the current pandemic, it would be in the patient’s best interest for medicines already dispensed to be supplied from the pharmacy rather than not supplied at all, even though this may not be in strict accordance with the law as normally understood.
- The pharmacy regulators will support pharmacy professionals in the front line making this judgement in patients’ best interests. In such circumstances we would expect there to be access to a pharmacist by phone or video link to provide direction for the remaining staff in the pharmacy.
- Such an approach should only be adopted for a short time period, where other options have been exhausted. Except in such exceptional circumstances, even in the current pandemic situation, arrangements must be made for a pharmacist to be at the pharmacy, including to undertake the responsible pharmacist role and supervise the sale and supply of POM and P medicines.