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NPA rejects remote supervision proposals

The NPA has confirmed it is against the remote supervision of pharmacies in almost all circumstances.

Responding to the Department of Health and Social Care’s Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation consultation the NPA said the practice could compromise patient safety.

Challenging proposals to allow the regulator to make exceptions, the NPA said it was unclear whether these would in fact be routine rather than genuinely exceptional circumstances, like major incidents.

Helga Mangion, NPA policy manager, said: “Responsibility and accountability for the safe supply of medicines should remain with the responsible pharmacist.

“Standard operating procedures and systems only go so far. In many situations there is no substitute for the professional and clinical judgment of the pharmacist on the spot.

“Therefore, there should be a pharmacist present in every community pharmacy throughout the opening hours.”

The NPA said this was compatible with the full use of the pharmacists and technicians’ skills and did not impede the deployment of modern technologies.

In addition, the NPA said it is eager to engage further on this topic and recognises that pharmacy teams must be enabled to support the community pharmacist to deliver more clinical services.

The NPA’s response states: “Regulations relating to supervision and the role of the responsible pharmacist together must permit the profession to move on and deliver services efficiently.

“Yet patient safety, public confidence and ready access to a pharmacist must be regarded as uppermost priority.

“We support the further development of the skills and role of the whole pharmacy team. At the same time, the accessibility of the pharmacist must be maintained and indeed enhanced.

“The effect of any changes should be to enable the pharmacist presence in the pharmacy to become more, not less, visible to patients.”

NPA members can read the full response at

The NPA is always eager to hear the views of its members on policy matters. Please email or call Helga Mangion, NPA Policy Manager on 01727 858687 with comments on this consultation or anything else.

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