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Pharmacy Regulator Publishes Annual Report

June 13, 2019

PSI's 2018 Annual Report
  • PSI work output directed at assuring public trust
  • Increases in registered pharmacists and pharmacies
  • Number of pharmacists increases to 6246
  • Females represent 58% of new registrants (298)

The PSI, the pharmacy regulator, has published its Annual Report for 2018, and it highlights an extensive programme of work across registration, pharmacy practice development, query and complaint management as well as other regulatory efforts to assure public trust in pharmacy through effective regulation. Additionally, a number of significant development projects have been progressed during the year including the revision of the Code of Conduct for pharmacists and an ambitious digital transformation programme that will streamline how pharmacists and pharmacies interact with PSI, while also improving how PSI monitors and assesses risks. During the year, 298 new pharmacists were added to the register of pharmacists in Ireland. A total of 6,246 pharmacists were registered to work in Ireland as of December last year. The number of pharmacies in Ireland also grew last year to 1,945 (up from 1,931 in 2017).

Marking the publication of the report, Niall Byrne, Registrar and Chief Officer, said that feedback from the public continues to reflect a high level of trust in pharmacists, and patients’ frequent interaction with pharmacy services across the country, which currently amount to over two million visits to pharmacies every month. “Our remit is to assure public trust in pharmacy through effective regulation. We are working to ensure that all our activities are clearly directed towards this end. This includes the promotion of professionalism and quality in pharmacy practice, making sure we are collaborating and engaging well with our stakeholders, and increasing our effectiveness as a regulator.”

Mr Byrne highlighted the considerable progress made in 2018 on PSI’s review of the Code of Conduct for Pharmacists. The Code sets out the principles and ethical standards that govern pharmacists in their practice of their profession. In place since 2009, the Code was reviewed to ensure that it continues to reflect current practice environments, the changing health landscape in Ireland as well as legal requirements. The new Code, which is fundamentally about supporting pharmacists to practice their profession to the highest standard, is due to take effect later in 2019.

The report also notes the positive results of pharmacists’ commitment to continuing professional development (CPD). There was a 100% pass rate amongst the 134 pharmacists selected for practice review during 2018. In addition, over 1,000 pharmacists submitted CPD portfolios for review, the vast majority of whom met the standards required. CPD became mandatory for pharmacists in 2016. Details are included too of the number and different types of pharmacy inspections conducted by the PSI in 2018. Describing inspections as an important way of directly assessing the quality of pharmacy services available to the public, Mr Byrne also said that the PSI is examining its regulatory toolbox to ensure that PSI uses the most effective methods to regulate pharmacies and thereby provide assurance to the public that pharmacy services are safe and can be trusted.

“The public must have confidence in the quality and safety of the pharmacy services that they receive. The PSI believes in a collaborative approach to the effective and appropriate regulation of pharmacy services. We were delighted with the positive and open discussions with superintendent pharmacists that took place around the country last year, where we explored how we could collaborate better with the retail pharmacy sector around our shared patient safety objectives. These meetings have informed our important work during the year on the development of Governance and Accountability Standards for pharmacies, a project that is continuing into 2019.”

“Like those we regulate, the PSI also has to deliver an effective, quality service to the public set against an evolving health, regulatory and digital landscape. We are committed to building an organisation that is agile and high performing. As part of this, we are investing in a new digital platform to make it easier for pharmacists and pharmacy businesses to interact with us, from registering to sharing information, as well as improving how we assess, monitor and respond to safety and quality risks.”

As with many public bodies, the PSI was involved in Brexit-related work during 2018, engaging with the Department of Health, and with the pharmacy regulators in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. These discussions had a particular focus on professional registration and qualification, an important PSI function. Of the new pharmacists added to the PSI register in 2018, over 40% gained their professional qualification in the UK.

Other key activities highlighted in the 2018 report include:

  • 5 public consultations were carried out to inform the PSI’s work.
  • 50 formal complaints were received about pharmacists or pharmacies.
  • 8 formal fitness-to-practice inquiries were conducted by the PSI’s statutory Professional Conduct Committee (7) and Health Committee (1).
  • 133 expressions of concern also shared with PSI by the public regarding pharmacists and pharmacies; each of which was reviewed and assessed to determine if further action was required.
  • 8 public meetings of the PSI Council were held.

View the key facts and figures infographic.

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