This is the first major guidance review carried out by the Council since its new standards for pharmacy professionals were introduced in May. It relates to standard 1: Pharmacy professionals must provide person-centred care.
P3 reported earlier in the year on a consultation over proposed guidance that pharmacists should ‘recognise their own values and beliefs but not impose them on other people’ and ‘take responsibility for ensuring that person-centred care is not compromised because of personal values and beliefs’.
The GPhC says respondents to the consultation commented that the guidance would be relevant to a ‘wide range of services’ – not just the supply of emergency hormonal contraception.
The guidance states that while referral is still an option, it may not always be sufficient; for example, if a service is not accessible or available elsewhere or if, due to the person’s vulnerability, a referral would effectively obstruct timely access to the service.
GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said: “We recognise and respect that a pharmacy professional’s religion, personal values and beliefs are often central to their lives and can make a positive contribution to their providing safe and effective care to a diverse population.
“This guidance is intended to reflect the broad range of situations when a pharmacy professional’s religion, personal values or beliefs might impact on their willingness to provide certain services. It will support pharmacy professionals to make good decisions and provide person-centred care, within the legal framework.
“We would encourage all pharmacy professionals and owners to be familiar with this guidance and, where necessary, seek further independent advice and support.”