Pharmacist and Board clash over rego conditions


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Pharmacist owner disputes decision by Pharmacy Board before tribunal, after error led to conditions on his registration

A tribunal has given a Western Australian pharmacist proprietor the go-ahead to practise without conditions, after a dispute over recency of practice requirements.

In October 2019, the pharmacist owner applied for renewal of his registration to practise as a pharmacist.

In his application he disclosed that he had not met the Board’s recency of practice requirements in that he had neither completed 150 hours of practice in the previous 12 months, nor 450 hours of practice in the past three years.

Following a request from Ahpra, the pharmacist provided both an unsigned and signed CV that stated he owned and operated his pharmacy from 2006 to May 2016 and had “not worked in pharmacy from May 2016”.

A few months later, Ahpra notified him of the Pharmacy Board’s decision to grant renewal of his registration as a pharmacist, subject to conditions.

Those conditions required him to complete 152 hours of supervised practice, sit an oral examination, and to desist from practising unsupervised until these conditions are met.

Based on the information provided, the pharmacist had been unable to demonstrate that he had met the recency of practice requirements, the Board argued.

That same day, the pharmacist filed an application with the WA State Administrative Tribunal seeking review of the Board’s decision.

He argued he had made an error in his CV, and that that he had stopped practising as a pharmacist at the pharmacy when it closed in May 2017 – not May 2016 as previously advised.

He stated he had not only worked as a pharmacist for 450 hrs in the three years prior to his application for renewal, but had in fact worked more than 800 hours in 2017.

The WA tribunal noted an “absence of … documentary evidence” to support the number of hours the pharmacist claims he worked at the pharmacy between October 2016 to May 2017.

However the pharmacist’s partner, whom the tribunal found to be a “credible witness”, gave evidence that he was present at the pharmacy for most of its opening hours from 1 October 2016 to May 2017, seven days a week. She was adamant that the pharmacy closed in early May 2017.

The pharmacist also produced a random sample of almost 50 prescriptions as evidence of his dispensing work during that time, as well as bank statements and pharmaceutical supplier invoices issued pharmacy.

On the basis of all the evidence, the tribunal found that he worked at the pharmacy on average for at least 50 hours a week from 1 October 2016 until 2 May 2017—adding up to approximately 1,750 hours.

“On our calculation, he worked well in excess of the 450 hours in the previous three years prior to the application for renewal of his registration on 24 October 2019,” the tribunal found.

Therefore it found disclosures in his application and statements in his CV had been made “in error”.

“We accept [his] evidence that when completing the application form, he relied on his memory without checking any documents.

“On [the pharmacist’s] own admission, he is a person who overlooks things, forgets things, and does not keep records.”

On arguing for conditions to remain, the Board submitted that the tribunal should take into consideration the lapse of time between the 2019 renewal application being made and when the pharmacist advised them that he had in fact met the recency of practice standards, and his failure to keep records of practice.

However the tribunal did not agree that this was relevant.

It set aside the decision of the Pharmacy Board of Australia and granted the pharmacist registration without conditions.

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3 Comments

  1. Jim Tsaoucis
    07/10/2021

    wouldn’t the fact that he admitted to be slack with his record keeping require some sort of reprimand?

  2. Peter Allen
    07/10/2021

    “It is the nature of all bureaucracies to protect themselves from criticism at all costs”
    – Harrystottle.

  3. Michael Ortiz
    10/10/2021

    This decision is interesting given that in NSW the Pharmacy Council iholds Pharmacy Owners accountable for events that occur in their Pharmacy independent of how many hours they work in that Pharmacy. They don’t have to be present in the Pharmacy to work on the Pharmacy operation t be held accountable for happens in their Pharmacy. Based on some recent disciplinary decisions in NSW, the definition of “working in a Pharmacy” seems to be to limited “to dispensing medicines or selling OTCs and monitoring S8 and S4D supply.

    If the Pharmacy owner spends less than 3 hours a week monitoring his pharmacy, then maybe he should not be allowed to own a pharmacy?

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