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New pharmacy inspection regime proposed

Posted: Friday, May 18th, 2018

Tied in with the premises standards order which will come into force on 24 May 2018, the General Pharmaceutical Council has just launched a consultation on a new pharmacy inspection regime.
The consultation, which is open till 9 August 2018, proposes, amongst other things:
  1. Changes to the types of inspections - moving to a new model that includes three types of inspection: routine inspections, intelligence-led inspections and themed inspections. This appears to be about responding to information held and "intelligence" received. 
  2. Moving to unannounced inspections as a general rule.
  3. Changing inspection outcomes - there would be two possible outcomes for an inspection overall (‘standards met’ or ‘standards not all met’), and four possible findings at the principle (sic) level (‘standards not all met’, ‘standards met’, ‘good practice’ and ‘excellent practice’).
  4. Requiring all standards to be met to receive an overall ‘standards met’ outcome - if any standard was found not to be met, this would result in a ‘standards not all met’ outcome overall.
  5. Publishing inspection reports, and improvement action plans where relevant, on a new website. 


Successful annual seminar and AGM

Posted: Friday, May 18th, 2018

We enjoyed a successful AGM on 16 May 2018, and had a record turnout for presentations testing the new defence to dispensing error prosecutions under section 64 of the Medicines Act 1968; a comparision of fitness to practise procedures in common law jurisdictions; ethical issues when pharmacists collaborate with GPs; and how the issue of dishonesty is dealt with in Fitness to Practise cases, especially since the Supreme Court decision in Ivey v Genting [2017] UKSC 67.

At the AGM, we updated our constitution so as to open membership to all pharmacy professionals, to ensure that pharmacy technicians could become members.

In his Chair's report, David Reissner said he aimed to use Twitter more, to promote PLEA.  In fact the conference has generated a lot of traffic on Twitter.  Please contribute @PLEA_UK

New premises standards regulations

Posted: Saturday, April 28th, 2018

The Privy Council has made an Order, bringing The Pharmacy (Premises Standards, Information Obligations, etc.) Order 2016 into force on 24 May 2018.

The Premises Standards Order: 


NHS market entry review

Posted: Sunday, April 15th, 2018

The Department of Health and Social Care has published a review of the operation in England of the National Health Service (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013.

The review concludes that the regulations have "largely achieved" the original policy objectives of encouraging the supply of services without excessive provision in areas already meeting demand. However, the review recommends undertaking a consultation on possible amendments to address certain unintended consequences of the Regulations.

The issues that may give rise to future amendment to the Regulations include:

Dispensing error defence in force

Posted: Sunday, April 15th, 2018

Following an order of the Privy Council, The Pharmacy (Preparation and Dispensing Errors – Registered Pharmacies) Order 2018 comes into force on 16 April 2018.  The Order provides a defence to prosecutions under section 64 of the Medicines Act 1968 because the wrong prescription medicine has been supplied and a patient is harmed.

The defence does not apply to over-the-counter medicines, and a defendant will only be acquitted by proving that certain conditions are met.  Typically, these will be that the pharmacist did not know that the wrong medicine was being supplied, and that when the error was discovered, the patient was promptly notified.

Find out more at PLEA's annual seminar on 16 May 2018.

Annual Seminar - Booking now open!

Posted: Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

PLEA Annual Seminar and AGM

“What's new in 2018?”

Wednesday 16th May 2018 10.00 - 3.30

At the offices of Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, 5 Fleet Place, London EC4M 7RD

This year's seminar will look at recent changes in the law affecting pharmacists and pharmacy practice, as well as exploring how fitness to practise is dealt with in other jurisdictions such as Australia, Canada and a US State. 

The programme will include

To register to attend please register via the events page. This event is free for PLEA members, £50 for non-members.

The Annual General Meeting of PLEA will also be held at this meeting. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Thanks are due to Charles Russell Speechlys for the facilities to hold this meeting of PLEA

New approach to sexual assault in FtP cases?

Posted: Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

The  High Court has just rejected the appeal against erasure of a doctor who sexually assaulted two young, femaile nurses in the space of two hours on a single day.  He had hugged them from behind, rubbed his hands on their bodies, pressed his erect penis against them and made inappropriate comments to them.  There was no criminal investigation or further complaint.

In Mohammed v General Medical Council, Mrs Justice Yip said that the decision of the Medical Practitioners' Tribunal Service could have gone either way.  She said there had been a shift in the attitude to and public perception of "low level" sexual offences which were now rightly regarded as being more serious than they once were.

Pharmacy student wins challenge to university exclusion

Posted: Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

In HA v University of Wolverhampton (with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator as an interested party; and the GPhC intervening to make submissions of its own) [2018] EWHC 144 (Admin), a pharmacy student obtained an order quashing a decision to exclude him from his undergraduate course.

The student had failed to disclose criminal convictions dating from when he was a juvenile.  Mr Justice Julian Knowles found that the university's fitness to practise panel had, amongst other flaws in its decision-making, failed to take into account the student's considerable mitigation, which mean the panel had not struck a fair balance between the student's rights and the protection of the public.  Amongst other things, the panel had failed to take into account that different considerations may apply to convictions at a young age, and the panel also approached the question of sanction in a way that did not ensure proportionality.  Unlike the GPhC's Fitness to Practise Committees, which consider sanctions in ascending order of seriousness, the fitness to practise panel had decided that exclusioni was the appropriate outcome without considering less serious alternative outcomes.

Decriminalisation update

Posted: Friday, February 9th, 2018

The Privy Council has signed the Order approving the new statutory defences to prosecutions under section 64 of the Medicines Act 1968.  After 8 March, the Government can introduce a commencement order.  The commencement order will specify the date the new defences into law.  The earliest this can happen is April 2018.

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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.