Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pharmacy Regulator confirms conscience clause remains unaltered

PJ Online reports,
Tue, 16/08/2011 - 16:11

'Pharmacists who refuse to offer services on religious or moral grounds should direct customers elsewhere
The General Pharmaceutical Council has issued a statement reassuring pharmacists that the conscience clause in the professional standards, which allows them to refuse to provide services on religious or moral grounds, has not been revised.

The GPhC took the step after reports earlier this week (15 August 2011) in the Catholic press indicated that new guidance meant the opt-out clause had been removed.

In its statement, the GPhC reiterated that it has not altered the existing 3.4 standard, which is the conscience clause of its professional standards of conduct, ethics and performance and which it updated last September.

The GPhC, however, did confirm that a review of the standard and its supporting guidance was scheduled to take place during its first year of office.

A spokesman for the regulator said it was due to consider options available about how to carry out the review at its September 2011 meeting. The review would take place "pretty soon within the next few months", he added.

According to the current guidance a pharmacist is expected to put a patient’s needs first. But if he or she feels unable to offer specific services such as emergency hormonal contraception or routine hormonal contraception the pharmacist is expected to refer the patient elsewhere taking into account any relevant clinical deadlines.'

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