Pharmacists that make dispensing errors may not be liable for criminal prosecution, following a consultation by the Department of Health (DH).
This move will aim to encourage pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to be more open and speak up when they make mistakes, instead of trying to cover them up due to the possibility of prosecution.
It is also hoped the changes will lead to improved patient safety and better professional practice.
This move has been announced to redress “imbalances” between legislation and regulation.
The pharmacy professional will be only accountable to the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) unless they have been found to deliberately been setting out to harm patients in which case they will also be subject to
a parallel investigation from the police and “face the full force of criminal law”, said the DH.
The consultation has also called for pharmacy inspection reports to be published in the public domain. Currently, just the pharmacy owner, the GPhC and the superintendent can view them.
The proposals are to be implemented across the UK if the consultation is approved.
Chair of the rebalancing medicines legislation and pharmacy regulation programme board, Ken Jarrold, said: “I am extremely pleased to see the launch of the consultation and I am very grateful to (what board) Board for all their hard work in getting to this stage.
“I know these proposals are of immense importance and interest to pharmacy professionals and users, and I urge you to give them serious consideration and to let us know your views.”