‘toDAY, I CHAllEngE oUR lAW MAKERS to REAl ACtIon. It IS tIME tHE lAW CHAngED. It HAS tAKEn too long’

under-reporting of incidents for fear of prosecution.

this fear, Cliff McElhinney reiterated at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at the end of January, coupled with a lack of action on the part of the law makers, means that pharmacists continue to

work in an atmosphere of concern and anxiety.

'today,' he said, 'I challenge our law makers to real action. It is time the law changed. It has taken too long.

‘UCA has stated its desire to overturn the legislation, which criminalises

dispensing errors and I challenge all of you to exert your influence to change this law. the UCA will campaign by writing to both the Department and the Pharmaceutical Society of northern Ireland, and we will also use the pages of Pharmacy in focus to spread our call to action.

‘It is vital that the depth of feeling on this issue is demonstrated in a constructive manner by all pharmacists, employees, contractors and every branch of the wider


Madeeha Malak Young Community Pharmacist of the Year

As an associate member of the pharmacist representation group I would like to voice our determination about addressing the ongoing debate on decriminalisation of dispensing errors. this area has been a hot topic for many years with work continually ongoing. However, the changes have been long overdue, with pharmacists being criminalised for such errors.

We do not to wish to trivialise the possible tragic outcome of a dispensing error, however we are the only healthcare professionals who can be criminally prosecuted for making a genuine mistake and we bear the burden of this in our day-to-day working, which only adds to the stress of an already high-intensity work load.

therefore, it would be of great benefit to pharmacy professionals and to the safety of patients if the decriminalisation of dispensing errors could be achieved with the utmost urgency. Pharmacists work tirelessly to prevent both prescribing and dispensing errors from occurring on a daily basis, not only to ensure patient safety but also to safeguard other professionals from possible mistakes.

We also need to reiterate that the cases of dispensing errors leading to tragic outcomes happen on a relatively low frequency. from a pharmacist’s perspective, patient safety is paramount and it is of the greatest importance that we prevent dispensing errors from occurring by regularly reviewing procedures and processes rather than through criminal proceedings or for fear of prosecution.


profession and I would ask you all for your support.’

the UCA call to action is to be warmly welcomed. Patient safety is of prime importance to every community pharmacist. Removing the threat of criminal prosecution will enable pharmacists to record errors promptly and correctly and will remove the atmosphere of tension that pervades the industry. It's vital that all community pharmacists throw their support behind this call.

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