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The Authority publishes its review of the Pharmaceutical Society for Northern Ireland’s performance for 2019/20

The Professional Standards Authority (the Authority) has published its annual performance review of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland. We review each of the statutory health and social care regulators each year to assess whether they are meeting our Standards of Good Regulation. The PSNI’s register covers over 2,700 pharmacists practising in Northern Ireland and over 550 registered pharmacies.

We conducted a targeted review of the PSNI’s performance this year to obtain further information about its EDI work and its fitness to practise function. The PSNI has met 15 out of 18 Standards. The PSNI did not meet Standard 3 because it does not attempt to collect or analyse EDI data on its Council and Committee members. The PSNI is not responsible for the recruitment or appointments process for its Council members and it operates in a different jurisdiction, with different demographics to the other regulators. However, these members make key decisions within the PSNI’s statutory and non-statutory functions and therefore we consider it important for the PSNI to have an evidence-based understanding of their diversity and how it compares to the PSNI’s register and the wider population of Northern Ireland.

The PSNI did not meet Standards 15 and 18, which relate to the fairness and timeliness of the fitness to practise process and customer service. We reported concerns about customer service and the fairness of the process last year and the PSNI promptly implemented a range of improvement measures. However, we are yet to see tangible evidence of the impact of those measures. We also noted there appear to be early indicators of a deterioration in the timeliness of case progression.

More information about how we reached our decision is set out in our Performance Review - PSNI 2019/20 or you can read a summary in our two-page snapshot.

The PSNI disagreed with the outcome in Standard 3, in relation to Council recruitment, and in relation to Standards 15 and 18 on all counts. It has published a response to our report on its website. The PSNI’s statement sets out aspects of our decision that it does not agree with. Our analysis and reasons for the decision on each Standard is detailed in the report. The PSNI’s statement also sets out a number of areas where it thinks the performance review process could be improved, on the basis of its experience of the 2019/20 review. We will take into account this feedback as part of a review of our process which is currently underway.


Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care


Notes to the Editor

  1. The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care oversees 10 statutory bodies that regulate health and social care professionals in the UK.
  2. We assess their performance and report to Parliament. We also conduct audits and investigations and can appeal fitness to practise cases to the courts if we consider that sanctions are insufficient to protect the public and it is in the public interest.
  3. We also set standards for organisations holding voluntary registers for health and social care occupations and accredit those that meet them.
  4. We share good practice and knowledge, conduct research and introduce new ideas to our sector. We monitor policy developments in the UK and internationally and provide advice on issues relating to professional standards in health and social care.
  5. We do this to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of users of health and social care services and the public. We are an independent body, accountable to the UK Parliament.
  6. The Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (the PSNI) regulates pharmacists and registered pharmacists in Northern Ireland. Its work includes: ensuring high standards of education and training for pharmacists; maintaining a register of pharmacists (‘registrants’) and a register of students in preregistration training; setting standards of conduct, ethics and performance that registrants must meet; setting standards for continuing professional development to ensure registrants maintain their ability to practise safely and effectively; taking action to restrict or remove from practice registrants who are not considered fit to practise; and maintaining a register of registered pharmacies and setting standards they must meet. As at 30 September 2020, the PSNI was responsible for a register of 2,766 pharmacy professionals and 554 pharmacy premises. Its annual retention fee is £398 for pharmacists and £155 for pharmacy premises.
  7. Our values are – integrity, transparency, respect, fairness and teamwork – and we strive to ensure that they are at the core of our work.
  8. More information about our work and the approach we take is available at