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According to the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland’s (PSI) Annual Report for 2017, the number of registered pharmacists increased from 5,908 in 2016 to 6,096 in 2017.
There were 176 cancellations from the Register of Pharmacists, with 22 pharmacists removed due to failure to apply for continued registration, pay their annual registration fee and then failing to apply for voluntary cancellation. Where a pharmacist indicated a reason for cancelling their registration, 34 pharmacists emigrated; 42 pharmacists retired; 16 pharmacists were returning abroad; and five pharmacists cancelled their registration for study leave. The remaining 57 pharmacists provided other reasons. In 2017, two registered pharmacists passed away and one pharmacist was removed from the PSI Register.
Meanwhile, some 46 complaints about pharmacists or pharmacies were received by the PSI last year, mostly in relation to dispensing errors and pharmacy practice issues. This compared with 42 complaints in the previous year.
The PSI also received 108 “expressions of concern” compared with 119 in the previous year.
“The highest number of complaints received related to dispensing errors and pharmacy practice issues,” stated the PSI’s annual report. “A total of 12 complaints related to dispensing errors. A total of nine complaints alleged that the incorrect dose of the correct medicine had been supplied to a patient and three alleged the wrong medicine had been supplied. A further nine complaints related to pharmacy practice issues, which can include matters relating to the management of medicines, record-keeping, storage and disposal of medication and counselling of patients.”
Of the 108 expressions of concern received, 14 resulted in formal complaints; 78 were dealt with internally and as of 31 December last, 16 remained under review. Most expressions of concern related to pharmacy practice issues; commercial/advertising/employment issues; behaviour; failure to supply; dispensing error (incorrect dose); and dispensing without valid prescription.
In 2017, 13 inquiries, which related to 18 separate complaints, were heard and concluded before a Committee of Inquiry.