Incorrect disposal

Problems with S8 disposal processes and dispensary workloads highlighted by regulators

The Victorian Pharmacy Authority says its inspections have revealed that while the number of total dispensary staff in pharmacies is meeting requirements, this does not account for dispensary staff being engaged in other tasks such as MedsChecks and assembling dose administration aids.  

“Licensees are required to monitor workloads to ensure there is sufficient staff actually engaged in dispensing to satisfy the requirements of the workload guideline,” the authority’s latest communique states.

The Authority’s position on workloads is: “If dispensing levels are in the range of 150-200 prescriptions per day, a trained dispensary assistant and/or an intern pharmacist may assist the pharmacist. If the workload is in the range of 200 to 220 prescriptions daily, a second dispensary assistant may be used but above this workload, a second pharmacist will be necessary for at least part of the day”.

Meanwhile, the VPA also reiterated instructions on how unwanted Schedule 8 medicines should be disposed, reminding pharmacists that It is “not acceptable to place a bag of returned medicines into the RUM bin without examining the contents to determine whether Schedule 8 poisons are contained therein – unless there is an obvious risk to personal safety”.

“Where a pharmacist is merely initiating the destruction of a Schedule 8 poison, which is intended for subsequent high-temperature incineration (e.g. via RUM bins), the Schedule 8 poison must be rendered unidentifiable and unrecoverable to prevent it being retrieved from the RUM bin, as has occurred on several occasions at multiple pharmacies”.

If liquids are to be placed into the RUM bin, an absorbent substrate (e.g. kitty litter or sawdust) should be used, it advises.

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