So long and thanks for all the fish!
Posted: Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017
Dear (very dear) PLEA members
Some of you may have seen my goodbye in the PJ but here is another. I am closing my consultancy at the end of 2017, my GPhC registration also lapses then and I am taking my eye off all things pharmacy law and ethical. So I won't be posting anything after this. I want to thank all the contacts I have made during the last nearly twenty years of PLEA for their engagement and enthusiasm in promoting a better appreciation of law and ethics in pharmacy practice. PLEA is now in the capable hands of chair David Reissner and I have every intention of joining PLEA meetings in the future. Dale and Appelbe's Pharmacy and Medicines Law is now edited by Karen Pitchford of De Montfort and also David again, I am told. I shall survive on the humble dribblings of royalties that remain to me from the last edition. Nottingham University have kindly renewed ny Honorary chair and I shall stay a member of the RPS, albeit at the retired rate.
I shall sort of miss the challenge but not the effort and there are so many other interests that I want to explore in my declining years that you have to stop sometime! So, I wish PLEA well for the future and am sure that the specialty of pharmacy law and ethics will continue to flourish.
Oh, and if you didn't know, the heading is a quote from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. My mother told me about it...
All the best, Joy
Students, social media use and fitness to practise
Posted: Thursday, November 16th, 2017
The recent High Court decision in R (on the application of Ngole) v University of Sheffield  EWHC 2669 is an interesting case dealing with fitness to practise and the use of social media. It also addresses whether human rights protecting religious beliefs and freedom of speech override the powers of a regulator. This was a case of a student on a course that would lead to registration as a social worker posted on Facebook comments that reflected his sincerely-held religious beliefs eg that “homosexuality is a sin”. The court dismissed an application for judicial review of a university fitness to practise panel’s decision to exclude Mr Ngole from his course because (in short) his lack of insight into the effect his public views might have on potentially vulnerable future clients might undermine public confidence in the profession of social workers.
Rowena Collins Rice, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, held that there was no practical difference between a registered professional and a student studying with a view to registration; and the judgment re-affirms the professional obligation to behave appropriately at all times ie even when acting in a private or personal capacity.
Defences SI for dispensing errors finally laid
Posted: Tuesday, November 14th, 2017
The draft SI, The Pharmacy (Preparation and Dispensing Errors - Registered Pharmacies) Order 2018 has been laid today. It will come into force on such days as the Privy Council decide. (JW)
Consultation reform of regulation of health professionals
Posted: Tuesday, October 31st, 2017
The DH has published a consultation on proposals to reform the regulation system for healthcare professionals in the UK. The consultation builds on the Government response to the Law Commission's report on this topic in 2014 and the scope will include the work of the GPhC. One of the Law Commission's proposals aimed to consolidate and simplify the existing legal framework and impose greater consistency across the regulators in some areas such as the conduct of fitness to practise hearings. Consultation closes on 23rd January 2018. (JW)
New NHS counter fraud body for England
Posted: Thursday, October 5th, 2017
Regulations have just been laid before Parliament that will establish a new NHS Counter Fraud Authority for England with effect from 1 November 2017. It will have the legal status of a Special Health Authority and take over from NHS Protect,(which has been part of the NHS Business Services Authority) the prevention, detection and investigation of fraud and corruption in the NHS.
DH guidance emergency adrenaline in schools
Posted: Tuesday, September 26th, 2017
The DH has issued guidance for schools on creating a policy around the use of emergency adrenaline auto-injectors (AAIs). From 1 October 2017, schools in England will be allowed to purchase AAI devices without a prescription, for emergency use on children who are at risk of anaphylaxis but whose own device is not available or not working. A template letter for ordering AAI supplies from a pharmacy is included. (JW)
Flaws in control of "legal highs"
Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017
Measures to control so-called "legal highs" were introduced last year but in two recent court cases concerning recreational use of nitrous oxide gas, the law proved inadequate to secure convictions. PLEA readers may like to view a fairly comprehensive account from BBC news here. (JW on behalf of Ian Simpson).
Provision of info on "health service products"
Posted: Wednesday, August 30th, 2017
The DH is seeking views on legal requirements for the provision of information related to the sales and purchases of health service products. These will cover medicines, medical supplies and other related products used in the NHS. This consultation is linked to the earlier one on changes to the PPRS (below). The consultation proposes measures which will affect, among others, manufacturers, wholesalers, importers of medicines and NHS hospital pharmacy departments and community pharmacies. The information provided would (i) facilitate the determination of remuneration/payment of community pharmacies and GP practices, (ii) help ensure the availability and value-for-money of health service products and (iii) support the cost control provisions in the NHS Act 2006. Draft regulations, the Health Service Products (Provision of Information and Disclosure) Regulations 2017/18 are available alongside the consultation. (JW)
Consultation on more changes to PPRS
Posted: Friday, August 25th, 2017
A consultation has been launched by the DH to amend the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) that controls the price of branded medicines to the NHS. This is aimed to achieve alignment with the current voluntary scheme agreed in 2014. Consultation closes on October 17th 2017 (JW)
NHS pilot to support whistleblowers
Posted: Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017
All professions require registrants to speak up when they have concerns. There have been numerous cases where staff have spoken up and it has had a detrimental effect on their work.
NHS England has announced a new pilot programme to support whistle blowers as part of their response to Sir Robert Francis’ Freedom to Speak Up report.
Details of this pilot can be found here.
These news items are not exhaustive but are selected according to their relevance to pharmacy practice, NHS community pharmacy contracts and the regulation of the pharmacy profession. If you wish to add any items that you think we have missed, contact our news editor.