Government must rule out plans to allow non-pharmacists to dispense prescriptions

23 Feb 2018

The NPA is calling on the government to rule out proposals that would allow non-pharmacists to supervise the supply of prescription-only medicines.

The call comes after a report, published today, found that NHS-wide medication errors are leading to the deaths of thousands of people each year.

Commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care the report says the errors – in hospitals, care-homes, pharmacies and GP surgeries  – also cost the NHS £1.6bn. However, in the months leading up to today’s announcement government officials were drawing up detailed proposals to allow pharmacy technicians to supervise prescription-only medicine supply.

An NPA spokesman said: “Community pharmacists are the last line of defence against medication errors, dispensing more than a billion prescription items each year and clinically checking each one.

“They use their professional judgement and expertise to query about 6.6m of those items, helping avoid many incidents that might otherwise have resulted in serious harm.

“Pharmacy technicians are a valued part of any pharmacy team but it’s hard to see how removing medicines experts from the supply process can improve patient safety.

“Such proposals must be ruled out.”