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Don’t breach responsible pharmacist rules again, GPhC warns Jhoots superintendent

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Don’t breach responsible pharmacist rules again, GPhC warns Jhoots superintendent

The GPhC has issued a warning to the superintendent pharmacist of Jhoots Pharmacy after two branches of the company were found to be handing out prescriptions without a responsible pharmacist (RP) present. 

The GPhC’s investigating committee issued the warning to Dilsha Kiran Shah on March 25 this year after considering allegations relating to incidents in 2021 and 2022. The committee reminded Ms Shah that pharmacies must not dispense or supply prescription medicines without an RP signed in and on hand to supervise the pharmacy’s operations, telling her: “To do anything otherwise would be to put patients at risk or harm."

In August 2021, the regulator received reports that a Jhoots branch under Ms Shah’s statutory remit as superintendent pharmacist was operating in breach of the RP regulations, with the pharmacy’s staff “said to have been instructed to continue operating without a responsible pharmacist being in attendance”.

The GPhC’s assessment team then wrote to Ms Shah and “confirmed that an unreasonable and unjustified risk has been created at the pharmacy,” informing her that if the incident were to be repeated “it might lead to a formal fitness to practise investigation”.

Following that “clear guidance” from the GPhC, the regulator’s inspectors visited another Jhoots branch on May 26 2022 and found that it too was operating without an RP, with the inspectors witnessing “a patient being suppled a prescription only medicine” under these circumstances. 

“When inspectors questioned pharmacy staff, they confirmed they knew they should not be dispensing or supplying prescription only medicines in the absence of a responsible pharmacist but had been instructed to do so,” the investigating committee’s report noted.

Ms Shah, who according to her entry on the GPhC register is still superintendent pharmacist at Jhoots, “had failed to ensure that the pharmacies she was accountable for as superintendent were only dispensing or supplying prescription-only medicines when a responsible pharmacist was in attendance and/or had failed to ensure that pharmacy staff were not directed to continue dispensing or supplying when a responsible pharmacist was not in attendance,” the report added. 

She was found to have breached three standards for pharmacy professionals concerning the use of professional judgement, behaving in a professional manner and demonstrating leadership. 

The warning, which will be published on the GPhC register until March 25, 2025, states that Ms Shah “must ensure that any pharmacy for which she is a superintendent does not dispense or supply prescription only medicines unless a responsible pharmacist is in attendance” and that “on no account” should pharmacy staff be told to make supplies without an RP in attendance.

“Any similar conduct will be likely to result in further investigation,” said the committee.

The report does not reveal in which branches of Jhoots the RP breaches were discovered. Last November, the company announced it had bought 36 former LloydsPharmacy branches, taking its estate from 27 pharmacies to 63.

Jhoots did not respond to requests for comment.

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