The president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has again urged the Government to speed up its work on ending the automatic criminalisation of dispensing errors.

It is time to address the “historical imbalance” between criminal sanctions and professional regulation, Ash Soni told the RPS conference, held earlier this month. The current situation deters error reporting and learning from mistakes.

“We are not looking for a relaxing of the rules but an approach through professional regulation that will encourage a culture centred around improving patient safety through more transparent reporting and learning from mistakes,” he told delegates.

Mr Soni pointed out that the changes could be brought about through secondary legislation, rather than an Act of Parliament. “On this issue of patient safety, we want to see more progress.”

The president also marked the start of a new campaign led by the three national pharmacy boards to raise awareness of the importance of antimicrobial stewardship.

“Pharmacists will be central to efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance, whether it is researching new treatments, reducing inappropriate prescribing, or offering advice to the public on reducing the risk of infections,” he said.

More member engagement

The new chief executive of the RPS, Paul Bennett, set out a commitment to engage with members and outlined his priorities for the coming year.

He said the decision to open up access to the conference to all members signalled an RPS commitment “to making sure we see more of you, and that you see, hear and experience more of what the Society has to offer”.

He announced the appointment of a new chief scientist, Professor Gino Martini, and deputy chief scientist, Dr Claire Thompson, and assured members that the Society will be ready to help all pharmacists meet the challenge of revalidation. “The Society needs to personify our members’ ambitions [and] we need to do that by working with all pharmacists,” he said.

Originally Published by Pharmacy Magazine

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