The Pharmacy (Preparation and Dispensing Errors – Registered Pharmacies) Order 2018 (Commencement) Order of Council 2018 has now been commenced. This brings into effect the legal defences for inadvertent preparation and dispensing errors by registered pharmacy professionals working at or from registered pharmacies.

Responding to the commencement of the legislation, GPhC Chief Executive, Duncan Rudkin said:

“We have advocated for this change in the law for a number of years and are delighted that it is now in effect. This should help bring real improvements to patient safety, by encouraging improved reporting and learning from errors by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working in registered pharmacies.

“We understand a consultation will begin shortly on introducing the same defences for dispensing errors made by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working in settings other than registered pharmacies, and we are keen to see this change to legislation made at the earliest possible opportunity.

“We know there are already a number of local and national initiatives across England, Scotland and Wales to encourage reporting and learning from errors, which are making a difference. We would encourage everyone working within pharmacy to play their part to contribute to a culture of greater openness and learning, to improve the care people receive.

“For our part, we will be considering how we can better use and share the information we receive about dispensing errors to support learning, reduce risks and improve patient outcomes.

“We recognise that the possibility of action by the regulator can also deter people from reporting errors. It is important to emphasise that single dispensing errors would not in our view constitute a fitness to practise concern, unless there were aggravating factors.”

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