Archive 2010

All Pharmacies Must Now Have Consultation Areas – Pharmacy Regulator

November 01, 2010

From today, 01 November, 2010, all pharmacies must have patient consultation areas in retail pharmacy businesses (pharmacies) available for private consultation and patient counselling, according to the PSI (Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland), the pharmacy regulator.

The PSI Registrar and CEO, Dr Ambrose McLoughlin, said proper communication of information with patients about their medicines was vital and he recommended the public and patients benefit from their entitlement to request a private discussion with a pharmacist. “This is a significant development to enhance patient care and the safe use of medicines in Ireland. It facilitates the public in getting the expertise and specialised knowledge of their pharmacist so they can better look after their own and their family’s health. The requirement to have a consultation area within a pharmacy already exists in many countries, and is widely recognised as an essential element of good pharmacy practice by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This facility will make it much easier for patients in Ireland to get the information and advice they need in a confidential manner, and many pharmacy owners have made significant efforts to provide facilities which will greatly enhance patient care in pharmacies. Using the specialised knowledge and expertise of their pharmacist has huge potential to improve patients’ health, increasing patient education and encouraging the safe and rational use of medicines.”

Dr McLoughlin stated that the public should be aware that the term ‘patient’, as used by the PSI, refers to everybody using the professional services of a pharmacy or a pharmacist and includes people needing both prescription and non-prescription medicines, as well as information and advice about their medicine use or other health-related issues.

Under the regulations governing the operation of pharmacies, pharmacists are obliged to ensure that patients receiving prescription medicines have sufficient information and advice for the proper use and storage of those medicines. This includes advice about the importance of the need to comply with the directions for use of the medicines, any common severe side effects or interactions, what to do if they miss a dose and how to safely dispose of medicines. Pharmacists are also obliged to ensure that people receiving non-prescription medicines are aware of the safe and proper use of those medicines.

The PSI has already published guidelines on patient consultation areas which outline that the facility be constructed to ensure a reasonable level of privacy for the patient at all times and that it be a designated area used solely by the pharmacist for the purpose of patient consultation and counselling. There must be a sign in place which informs patients that the facility exists and is available for their use, should they wish to request the professional input of the pharmacist. The guidelines also cover issues such as accessibility and security.

Since the introduction of the Regulation of Retail Pharmacy Businesses Regulations in November 2008, all pharmacies are required to provide a designated area for patient consultation within the premises. A transition period was granted for pharmacies already in existence until 01 November, 2010.

Read the Guidelines on Patient Consultation Areas in Retail Pharmacy Businesses.

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