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PSI publishes 2022 annual report

By Irish Pharmacist - 02nd Jul 2023

PSI

The Pharmacy Regulator has published its annual report for 2022, outlining the work undertaken by the regulatory authority to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of patients and the public by regulating pharmacists and pharmacies in Ireland. The report provides an overview of the work carried out in line with the regulator’s remit and current corporate strategy to ensure pharmacy care and services are regulated to a high standard in Ireland.

The Society outlined that its key activities 2022 included:

  • Continued engagement with the Department of Health on proposals to advance reform of the Pharmacy Act 2007.
  • 7,067 pharmacists were registered to practise by year-end, the highest ever number on the Register of Pharmacists.
  • An 83% increase (compared to 2021) in pharmacists registering from EU (European Union), UK and other non-EU routes.
  • The launch of the first ever pharmacy workforce survey as part of a multi- stakeholder project to assess the emerging risks to continued availability of pharmacists in Ireland.
  • Approval of a new Core Competency Framework for pharmacists.
  • PSI’s ongoing collaboration with Department of Health and others to evolve the legislative framework, and ensure the availability of accredited training for pharmacists, to facilitate the continued involvement of pharmacists in the administration of 635,475 Covid-19 vaccines in 2022.

Commenting on the publication of the annual report, PSI Registrar and Chief Officer Ms Joanne Kissane said: “The report reflects on the current operating environment for pharmacists and pharmacies and the regulatory work undertaken to ensure that the highest standard of care remains at the centre of pharmacy healthcare delivery. It also highlights the range of strategic activities we are seeking to progress to ensure our regulatory framework remains both robust and responsive to meet current and future regulatory and healthcare needs.”

At 1,981, the number of pharmacies in the State remained stable on the previous year.

“Given the challenges within healthcare and for pharmacy, the increase in the number of pharmacists is to be welcomed, with a return to pre-pandemic levels of registration activity noticeable for the PSI during 2022,” said Ms Kissane. “The increase in the number of registered pharmacists corresponds with an increase in queries and applications about registering to work as a pharmacist in Ireland, and our ongoing work to process these requests and to continue to streamline processes, such as the route to registration for non-EU/EEA pharmacists.”

During 2022, 53 complaints about pharmacists or pharmacies were received, representing a 33 per cent reduction in formal complaints received from the public, in comparison to the previous year. Of the complaints reviewed last year by the regulator’s Preliminary Proceedings Committee (PPC), the complaint screening committee, 13 were referred for further action, which can include referral to an inquiry or for mediation.

The report also highlights the developments in relation to the reform of the Pharmacy Act 2007 and engagement with Department of Health on this issue. Commenting on the position paper submitted to the Department of Health during 2022, Ms Kissane said: “As the regulatory body for pharmacy, we are extremely conscious of the need to reform elements of the Pharmacy Act which has played a critical role in creating an assurance framework for patients and the public to access safe, quality, pharmacy services. “Our approach centres on ensuring legislation is fit to support effective regulation into the future, and for the overall benefit of patients and the public. To that end, we were pleased to submit a position paper to the Department of Health in 2022, highlighting the need for reform, articulating the challenges in the current legislative framework and the opportunities presented through reform. We look forward to continued engagement with the Department of Health on this matter.”

There were also advances in relation to the multi-stakeholder project to assess the risks to the future pharmacy workforce, which is taking a medium-to-long-term view of the factors influencing future workforce availability, the output of which will be a workforce intelligence report.

This project commenced in 2022, with the establishment of a multi-stakeholder working group and the first ever workforce survey. This survey will be administered annually by the PSI. It will provide an important baseline picture of the current pharmacy workforce and inform future discussions and planning. Participation in the project’s working group is drawn from organisations across the health and the pharmacy sector who, importantly, will be key to ensuring the implementation of the recommendations contained in this project’s concluding report, said the PSI.

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