A group of organisations from across community pharmacy have hosted a ‘wide-reaching’ discussion around the future of pharmacy supervision practice.

The group met for the second time on Thursday 9 February in response to discussions around supervision within community pharmacy, with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and Health Departments in the Devolved Governments planning to reform current legislation later on this year.

Current legislation states that the sale of medicinal products must be carried out by a pharmacist or under the supervision of a pharmacist, but there is a lack of clarity around what ‘supervision’ actually means in practice.

The group’s second meeting focused on accountability, delegation and responsibility.

The ‘wide-reaching discussion’ explored what future guidance around supervision might look like, as well as how a ‘comprehensive, accessible and equitable community pharmacy offer’ could enable continued patient access to a pharmacist.

The chair of the group, Dr Michael Twigg, Associate Professor of Primary Care Pharmacy, University of East Anglia, said that the primary objective of the group was ‘to develop a co-designed and co-produced solution’ that would both ‘enhance the patient experience’ and ‘enable the community pharmacy workforce to maximise role and professional skills’.

He added: ‘At its second meeting, the group was unanimous that any changes in the delegation, responsibility and accountability space should be in the patient interest, distil confidence for patients and ensure that community pharmacy remains accessible and equitable.’

A spokesperson for the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) said that its longstanding position was that ‘the pharmacist is central to the operations of a pharmacy including safe supply of medicines’.

They added: ‘but we also recognise that excellent patient care is a team effort. We approach all our discussions about pharmacy supervision with a constructive mindset and a willingness to find common ground.’

Dr Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of Association of Independent Multiple pharmacies (AIMp), said that AIMp was contributing to and listening to the conversations around the issue and ‘regularly discussing with our members to form our position on supervision, putting our members’ and their patients’ interests at the heart of everything’.

The supervision group includes AIMp, the Association of Pharmacy technicians UK (APTUK), the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA), the NPA, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA), Pharmacy Forum Northern Ireland (PFNI) and The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), as well as observers from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland.

The group is set to meet again on Thursday 2 March.