Pharmacy Forum NI is submitting a response to the Department of Health public consultation on the introduction of a statutory Duty of Candour in Northern Ireland. The original submission deadline of Monday 2 August has been extended by the Department until Tuesday 31 August. The Forum has set up a working group to develop our response and we are asking NI based pharmacists who are interested in contributing to get in touch.

This is a significant consultation impacting pharmacy and the broader healthcare sector in Northern Ireland. The policy proposals set out an approach to implement the recommendations relating to a statutory duty of candour made by the Inquiry Into Hyponatraemia-Related Deaths (IHRD). DoH established the Hyponatraemia Implementation Programme to take forward the recommendations arising from the Inquiry.

The report sets out 96 recommendations across 10 themes, but there is a focus on candour. Specifically, it recommends that:

A statutory organisational and individual duty of candour should be enacted and criminal sanctions attached to both to ensure openness and honesty.

Accompanying these two specific recommendations regarding the statutory duties of candour, are recommendations regarding the guidance, support and protection that should be provided for staff in order to create a more open and honest culture.

It is worth recalling legislation that came into effect from April 2018, allowing registered pharmacy professionals in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to make use of new defences in the event of inadvertent preparation and dispensing errors in registered pharmacies. The Forum was an active participant on the Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board from its inception and in helping to shape this legislation.

Click here for more information on the Rebalancing Medicines Legislation

If you would like to contribute to the development of the Forum’s response to the current DoH Duty of Candour consultation, please contact

Full consultation details are available from the DoH website: