The Code of Conduct is a public declaration of the principles and ethical standards which govern pharmacists in the practice of their profession, and which the public, patients, other healthcare professionals and society require and expect from pharmacists. The Code of Conduct was revised and updated in 2019 and acknowledges the changes that have taken place in the delivery of healthcare in recent years, the evolving role of pharmacists and the exercise of professional judgement by pharmacists in the fulfillment of their professional responsibilities to patients and the public. The updated Code of Conduct applies to all pharmacists and is distinctly patient-centred, focusing on ensuring that all pharmacists practice in a way that maintains and improves the health, well-being, care and safety of patients. The revised seven-principle Code is intended to support pharmacists working in modern Ireland and has taken into account changes in Irish healthcare legislation and our society.

The new Code of Conduct was launched on 25 September 2019 to coincide with World Pharmacists Day and came into effect on 21 October 2019.

Put the Patient First
Always put the patient first and make their health, well-being and safety your primary focus. Make sure patients’ needs are recognised, assessed and responded to and that their dignity is preserved and their values respected. Decision making must be evidence based. When supplying products or services without a comprehensive evidence base you should be satisfied that the needs of the patient are best met by the approach taken. Apply your knowledge and skills to ensure the patient receives safe and effective care. Recognise that your decisions and behavior as a pharmacist can influence patient care even if you do not work in direct contact with the patient.

Act Professionally
Uphold the reputation of the profession by acting with honesty, probity and integrity, as patients expect to be able to trust that you act in their best interests at all times. Work continuously to promote a culture of respect, trust and a focus on the individual person to ensure the patient receives person-centred care. Make sure that your conduct at all times, both inside and outside your work environment, ensures public trust and confidence in the pharmacy profession.

Communicate Effectively
Communicate effectively so that patients receive safe and appropriate care. Ask relevant questions, listen carefully and respect confidentiality. Welcome questions from patients and respond to them in an open, accurate and honest way. Communicate in a manner that enables patients to make decisions that are informed and right for them.

Work With Others
Work in partnership with patients and members of all healthcare disciplines to ensure that the patient receives safe and effective care. Build effective working relationships with patients, colleagues and other healthcare professionals in order to deliver person-centred care. Collaborate with your colleagues and other healthcare professionals to build confidence, respect and understanding. Work with the patient, family, carers and/or named representative to enable them to make evidence-based healthcare decisions that are consistent with their needs, values and preferences.

Show Leadership
Lead by example and help promote and maintain the delivery of continuously improving, high-quality and compassionate healthcare. Demonstrate leadership to the people you work with and to others, in whatever role you perform as a pharmacist. Promote the health and well-being of patients, by acting as a leader in the safe and effective use of medicines and healthcare resources. Promote and strengthen a culture of quality and safety, acting as a role model for the safe supply of medicines. Lead colleagues in supporting local and national public health initiatives.

Maintain Competence
Maintain and improve your knowledge, skills and competence throughout your professional career in order to safely deliver and continually improve patient care. Undertake appropriate learning and development activities to maintain and develop your competence and your professional performance. Keep your professional knowledge and skills up to date over the course of your career, to reflect the changing nature of healthcare and the roles carried out by pharmacists. Apply this knowledge and skill in decision making to ensure safe and effective care for the patient.

Be Open and Honest
Promote patient safety through open and honest communication with patients, colleagues and other healthcare professionals. Raise any concerns you may have about patient safety or other safety issues. Be honest when something goes wrong and learn from these incidents. Challenge poor practices and behaviors to improve existing pharmacy practice and always act to foster a culture of patient safety.

Useful Resources for Pharmacists

Ethical Decision Making Tool
Ethical dilemmas
Code of Conduct launch video
Video introducing the Code of Conduct
Information events on the updated Code of Conduct
To provide information and support to pharmacists in the roll-out of the new Code of Conduct, the PSI held information events in various locations around the country in September and October 2019. The PSI will be hosting a further series of information events in Spring 2020.