Convictions and Cautions
There seems to be a lack of awareness of the requirement in England for pharmacy owners, directors and superintendents to inform NHS England within 7 days if they are convicted of any criminal offence or they have received a police caution.
Police cautions and convictions (as well as investigations into alleged NHS fraud) have to be disclosed to the GPhC within 7 days.
Until 2013, healthcare professionals were not covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, so convictions and cautions would always have to be disclosed in response to questions from regulators. The law has been changed so that the conviction of someone who was an adult at the time of conviction does not have to be disclosed after 11 years; and a caution will not have to be disclosed after 6 years. We recently persuaded the GPhC to drop a fitness to practise case based on a caution our client had received 10 years earlier.
The NHS Regulations allow pharmacies to relocate on a temporary basis if this is necessary for reasons beyond the control of the pharmacy. The Regulations give the examples of fire or flooding, or eviction from their premises. We have secured temporary relocations for clients who had lost the right to occupy their premises. The requirements of the Regulations are not straightforward, and there is no right of appeal against a decision of NHS England.
Internet Pharmacy Logo
There has been a lot of confusion over the need to use the new EU internet pharmacy logo. The MHRA may have intended that all internet pharmacies should display the logo. However, the Human Medicines Regulations only require the logo to be displayed by someone who sells medicines through their website. Pharmacies that use their website only for NHS services are not caught by the requirement. Only websites that deal with OTC sales and private prescriptions have to display the logo. Watch out for a change in the Regulations if the MHRA decides it made a mistake in excluding NHS dispensing from the requirement to display the logo.
A report on Pharmaceutical Services in England for 2014/2015 has been published. This shows that 788 pharmacy applications were determined over the past year. Of these 557 were for new premises, which is an increase of 41 from the previous year. The number of successful applications granted has also increased, with 70% of the applications being granted, compared to 66% in 2013-14.
The number of distance selling pharmacies is also increasing. Out of 11,674 community pharmacies, 227 are distance selling ones and applications for more continue to arrive in our in-tray.