Archive 2014

New Guidance will Support the Provision of Safe and Effective Testing Services in Pharmacies

March 05, 2014

The PSI (Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland), the pharmacy regulator, has published its ‘Guidance on the Provision of Testing Services in Pharmacies’ which aims to support pharmacists and pharmacy owners to provide safe and effective testing services to patients and the public, it has been announced.

“Pharmacies are increasingly providing testing services for diagnosis, monitoring and screening,” said Eoghan Hanly, PSI President. “This has the capacity to increase patient access to these services and to improve public health. However, to maximise patient outcomes and ensure patient safety, these services must be provided in accordance with best practice standards. This new guidance aims to ensure that patients’ expectations of the standard of care provided by their pharmacist are met and that the quality, accuracy and reliability of testing can be assured."

The guidance sets out that all tests provided in pharmacies should be clinically appropriate. This means that there should be an established clinical and scientific evidence-base for the test and that the test should be valid, accurate and reliable. Testing should be provided in line with relevant national healthcare strategy, health promotion campaigns, clinical guidelines and best practice, where available.

As a test can have significant health implications for patients, the guidance states that testing in pharmacies should be carried out by the pharmacist or a registered healthcare, professional acting within the scope of their practice. Patients should receive all the necessary information and counselling about their results and, where appropriate, be referred for further medical attention.

The requirements and standards for testing equipment and for the area of the pharmacy used for testing are also outlined in the guidance. In addition it sets out the quality assurance mechanisms that should be in place in pharmacies in order to ensure that test results are reliable and accurate.

As pharmacies often supply tests to patients for use in their own home, the guidance requires that tests sold in pharmacies are safe, efficacious, reliable and valid. Furthermore pharmacists should be able to advise and answer questions on the interpretation of the results obtained using home tests.

The guidance in full is available to view here

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