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Pharmacists are risking patient safety, says union boss

By Nigel Praities

Overworked pharmacists are risking patient safety by taking on too much extra responsibility, warns the head of the pharmacy trade body.

Pharmacists have taken on more responsibility in recent years, conducting medicines use reviews and taking on more clinical work from GPs, such as blood pressure monitoring or prescribing for minor ailments.

But Mr John Murphy, director of the Pharmacists' Defence Association, said dispensing was becoming ‘de-skilled' due to the excessive demands being placed on pharmacists in other areas.

‘Pharmacists are being given more work, but are not being any extra money to do it. We are concerned that this could be a genuine patient safety issue.

‘Pharmacists are very diligent and want to put in any risk management that they can to prevent errors, but we just can't see this burdensome workload can continue without something really major happening,' he said.

Mr Murphy said he was concerned about Government plans to expand the role of pharmacy in providing primary care services in proposals contained in a white paper published earlier this year.

‘I don't want to be the doomsayer, saying that pharmacists should not be given a greater role, but they should only be given this if given adequate resources,' he said.

Pharmacy leader warns services are being overstretched Pharmacy leader warns services are being overstretched

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