Archive 2008

New Pharmacy Legislation Must Protect the Vulnerable

October 09, 2008

Education Of Pharmacists Should Meet New Professional Requirements

The implementation of the 2007 Pharmacy Act must ensure protection of the most vulnerable in society and enable pharmacists to meet the challenge of an increasingly complex and evolving therapeutic environment, according to Dr Mary Keys, Lecturer, School of Law, NUIG.
Speaking at a lecture in NUIG to mark the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) Council’s first meeting in Galway in its capacity as regulator, Dr Keys underlined the fact that the regulatory changes in the 2007 Pharmacy Act must be utilised to improve pharmacy standards generally and safeguard the public interest. “Any new legislation must increase the focus on the vulnerable individual and should have a positive influence on the human rights of patients. Moreover, it is vital the implementation of the Pharmacy Act 2007 culminates in a modern code of conduct for pharmacists befitting a profession undergoing dramatic changes. In effect, any new pharmacy framework in Ireland should ensure there is no equivalent Leas Cross in the Irish pharmacy sector. Key contributory factors in these instances were ongoing delays in the implementation of structures and policies to improve the welfare of the vulnerable.”

Dr Bernard Leddy, President of the PSI, added, “As Dr Keys has highlighted, regulation in the context of pharmacy is essentially about safeguarding the health and welfare of the patient. Pharmacists of course must be able to reserve the right to exercise judgement to ensure the welfare of patients and the new Act supports this with its emphasis on continuing professional development. But it also allows for patient autonomy and independence that facilitates people making informed decisions regarding their own treatment and care.”

Professor Keith Wilson, Aston University, also gave a lecture on education in pharmacy and emphasised that changes in pharmacy practice need to be supported by changes in education to be effective. “As in the UK, Ireland’s evolving pharmacy sector requires a shift in how students of pharmacy are educated. With a greater emphasis on clinic services, medicines management services and specialist patient-based services, comes a concomitant need for the education framework to reflect a changing requirement in skills. That is what the PSI Education and Accreditation Review (PEARS) 2008/9, in which I am involved, is all about. The initiative’s objective is to produce a draft set of principles for pharmacy education in Ireland towards the future development of an effective pharmacy education framework in Ireland.”

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