Strong Regulator Will Ensure Highest Standards in Irish Pharmacy states Expert at TCD Seminar

Posted on: 05 December 2008

The complete implementation of the 2007 Pharmacy Act will ensure that the pharmacy profession will operate to the highest standards of practice, according to Ms. Jackie Giltrow, Head of Regulatory Transition with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB).
To mark the passing of the Pharmacy Act 2007, the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) held a seminar series at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Trinity College Dublin on December 2nd last. The passing of the bill and council’s visit to the school was also marked by the unveiling of a commemorative plaque.

During her lecture in TCD Ms. Giltrow highlighted that a strong independent regulator with proper fitness to practise systems in the UK could have prevented the Shipman case in the first instance. “One of the key insights gleaned from the post-Shipman inquiry in the UK was the need for a strong independent regulator at the outset that had the capacity and systems to detect malpractice.  Professions such as pharmacy that play such a huge part in public wellbeing require a robust fitness to practise framework and continuing professional development.  The Pharmacy Act 2007 provides for both of these in Ireland.”

“The regulatory reforms post-Shipman aim to ensure that patient safety is paramount, that registered professionals are fit to practise and that there is a framework for continuing professional improvement.  Regulation is as much about assuring and improving professional standards, as it is about identifying and addressing poor practice or bad behaviour but the overriding interest must be the safety and quality of care that patients receive.”

Dr Bernard Leddy, President of the PSI, said:  “The third and remaining stage of the commencement process of the Pharmacy Act 2007 will deal with the introduction of a fitness to practise regime for pharmacists and a fitness to operate regime for pharmacies, which is expected to be commenced in the first half of 2009.  With the Minister having just commenced the second phase on the new registration systems, we are making positive progress towards the full modernization of a pharmacy sector that will put the patient first and safeguard the public interest.”
Professor Ian Bates, professor of pharmacy education at the School of Pharmacy, University of London also gave a lecture in Trinity College about recent trends in education and health policy. In particular he addressed the development of new pharmacy services and the need for pharmacists to continually update their skills and knowledge. “Practitioner development is essential for a healthy healthcare system,” said Prof Bates.

Ms Alison Innes, also from the University of London, discussed the continued progression within the pharmacy profession in the UK where pharmacists can now advance to practice at consultant level.   Developments such as this are now possible in Ireland as the Pharmacy Act 2007 provides a modern, robust regulatory framework which ensures patient safety and will allow pharmacists and pharmacies to provide more services and care to patients.