Guidance aimed at assisting pharmacy professionals in situations where their religion, personal values or beliefs may impact on their willingness to provide particular services has been published by the General Pharmaceutical Council (“GPhC”), the regulator for pharmacists and pharmacies in the UK.

The guidance, provided under the new Standards for Pharmacy Professionals published by the GPhC, sets out the relevant factors which pharmacy professionals should consider when making decisions in a professional capacity.

The guidance publication follows a public consultation process where issues of this nature were raised and the need for guidance was highlighted, particularly in the area of emergency hormonal contraception, mental health, substance misuse and fertility medications.

In this regard, the document provides clear guidance in respect of factors to be considered by a pharmacy professional in such situations, to include circumstances where referral is appropriate and also where it may not be due to a patient’s vulnerability or where a referral would effectively obstruct timely access to the service.

In this jurisdiction, pharmacists and retail pharmacy businesses are regulated by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (the “PSI”). The current Code of Conduct for the PSI can be accessed here.

It is intended that the PSI will review the Code of Conduct in 2017, further information can be accessed here.

The GPhC Guidance Document can be accessed here.