Working Group Report on Temporary Absence

Under the Pharmacy Act 2007 it is an offence to operate a retail pharmacy business other than in accordance with particular conditions, one of which is that the sale and supply of medicinal products must be carried out by or under the personal supervision of a registered pharmacist at all times (Section 26). However, the Act also provides that no offence is committed where a registered pharmaceutical assistant acts on behalf of a registered pharmacist during the temporary absence of the registered pharmacist (Section 30).

The PSI Council considered the matter of temporary absence and a proposed draft set of rules under section 30 of the Act at its meeting in March 2017. The Council decided to reject the proposal presented, and requested further examination of the issue of temporary absence, and what would be covered within the scope of the rules.

A Working Group was then established to examine and produce a report, which was submitted to Council on the 17 May 2018. The considerations of the group were centered on patient safety, public protection and risk, and how long a pharmacist can be absent from a pharmacy, in order to inform policy position to allow the development of rules.

The Council considered the matter and accepted the Working Group report and its recommendations. It was agreed to proceed with developing draft rules under section 30 of the Act, based on this proposed policy. The rules will be considered at the 21 June 2018 Council meeting and a public consultation will take place on these rules over the summer.