Jun 20, 2019 —
When this original issue came about I thought it would be a good idea to get numbers of cases where medicines were refused for personal beliefs. So I contacted the GPhC with a freedom of information request. Their response appalled me. Apparently they do not log such a thing. Meaning it is completely up to the pharmacist’s discretion. How can they not log something like this when it directly affects the public? Which leads me to wonder if pharmacy’s are any better? Can I ask any pharmacists here: Have you been required to log instances of refusal for personal reasons, due to your pharmacy’s policy?
Also I would love to hear more about if anyone here has had medicines or care refused due to personal beliefs. Please contact me. You can do so through Twitter @NeekaNou or through Facebook: Domeneque Kristina Di Ciacca - Judging by the GHpC’s lacklustre response (full of loopholes etc), your testimonials will be important.
The GPhC’s response
Many thanks for your email. We do not collect the information that you have requested, however we wanted to highlight some information about the topic you have raised as we know this is being discussed in the media at present.
As you may have seen, the Lloyds statement states that pharmacists can ‘refuse to dispense medication that goes against their personal beliefs if there is adequate alternative care available for the patient’. This does not accurately reflect what our guidance says. You can find a copy of our guidance here. This was put together following a public consultation. In particular I would highlight the following key points from the guidance:
- Pharmacy professionals must provide person centred care. People receive safe and effective care when pharmacy professionals take responsibility for ensuring that person-centred care is not compromised because of personal values and beliefs.
- If a pharmacy professional is unwilling to provide a certain service, they should take steps to make sure the person asking for care is at the centre of their decision-making, so they can access the service they need in a timely manner and without hindrance. For example, this might include considering any time limits or other barriers to accessing medicines or other services, as well as any adverse impact on the person
- A referral may not be appropriate in every situation: for example, if a service is not accessible or readily available elsewhere for the person, or if, due to the person’s vulnerability, a referral would effectively obstruct timely access to the service. Again, pharmacy professionals should use their professional judgement to decide what is appropriate in individual cases, and keep a record of these decisions, including any discussions with the person asking for care.”
All this, and they are still able to refuse to dispense medicine to a person based on their own personal beliefs...
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