Professional Conduct & Legal Update
Pharmacy support personnel – know the different scopes of practice and know their registration status
“I thought the pharmacist’s assistant was a post-basic!” This is not a good enough defence when a pharmacist is charged with allowing pharmacy support personnel to practise beyond their scope of practice.
Disciplinary issues pertaining to pharmacist’s assistants (learner basic and basic) exceeding their scope of practice seems to be a prevalent and disturbing occurrence, based on the findings of the Committee of Preliminary Investigation (CPI) and the Committee of Informal Inquiry (CII).
More alarming to the committees is the fact that pharmacists and responsible pharmacists are justifying their actions by stating that they thought the person was a pharmacist’s assistant (learner post-basic or post-basic).
Council urges pharmacists and responsible pharmacists to check the registration status of all their pharmacy support personnel by going to Council’s website www.sapc.za.org and not to assume ‘what they have been told’.
Responsible pharmacists are being fined for not being responsible
Trends in disciplinary matters reviewed by the Committee of Preliminary Investigation (CPI) and matters heard by the Committee of Informal Inquiry (CII) show that things are ‘going wrong’ in pharmacies because responsible pharmacists are not putting systems in place or, alternatively, not adhering to operating systems to ensure the correct supervision of dispensing and sales/distribution.
Rule 2.7.2 (f) of the Rules relating to good pharmacy practice (GPP) states that, ‘systems must be developed to ensure that the distribution of medicines is reliable and secure to the point of delivery”.
This amounts to systems that, inter alia, ensure that:
- pharmacy support personnel are adequately supervised
- the potential for dispensing errors is reduced
- stock rotation is in place to eradicate expired stock from being dispensed or even being on the shelves.
Responsible pharmacists who fail to implement correct operational systems or fail to operate according to these systems, may face financial penalties of up to R25 000 in terms of Chapter V of the Pharmacy Act.
WE WANT YOUR OPINION
Are dispensing errors by pharmacy support personnel a result of inadequate supervision by pharmacists OR are pharmacist’s assistants acting on their own and ignoring the rules and procedures pertaining to supervision? We would like to hear your opinion at firstname.lastname@example.org.