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The Authority publishes its review of the Pharmaceutical Society for Northern Ireland’s performance for 2020/21

The Professional Standards 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 2,800 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. This included an audit of closed fitness to practise cases.

The PSNI has met 17 out of 18 Standards.

The PSNI has taken steps to address some of the concerns we reported last year about Standard 3. We remain concerned that the PSNI is not collecting diversity data about its Council members because it is important that it should have the full picture of the diversity of its decision-makers.  However, we determined that Standard 3 is met because the PSNI has undertaken significant other EDI work and because the diversity of its Council members is monitored by another agency; the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

The PSNI has addressed all of the concerns we reported in 2018/19 about its fitness to practise process. As a result, we determined that Standard 18 is met this year. However, the PSNI has not met Standard 15, which relates to the fairness of the fitness to practise process. This was because we identified concerns about the fairness and transparency of the fitness to practise process relating to:

  • registrants not being explicitly told they are the subject of the investigation
  • the PSNI’s approach to investigating serious cases when complainants do not consent to their details being shared
  • conflicts of interest, perceived or actual
  • the lack of published information about the PSNI’s interpretation of the Statutory Committee’s powers when reviewing Conditions of Practice Orders.

More information about how we reached our decision is set out in our Performance Review - PSNI 2020-21 or you can read a summary in our two-page snapshot.


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 2021, the PSNI was responsible for a register of 2,870 pharmacy professionals and 553 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