Professional indemnity is designed to protect you from any lawsuits or acquisitions that have been filed by clients as well as other parties that allege to harm or loss as a consequence of an improper service, product or counsel that you have provided them with. Professional indemnity is still applicable for any products or advice that you provide for customers, clients or others for free, as you could still be liable to lawsuits and claims filing for compensation.

How Is This Relevant To The Pharmacy Industry And What are the existing types of arrangements??

Professional indemnity is relevant to the pharmacy industry as it protects those who work in any area of pharmacy, be it a pharmacy technician, chemist or even a pharmacist in a pharmacy store against any potential liabilities for products or advice given.

According to article 32 of the Pharmacy Order 2010, a professional indemnity agreement can be covered by:

  • An existing insurance policy.
  • If employed, your employer may make an arrangement on your behalf and indemnify you.
  • A professional indemnity agreement may be arranged through a trade union, defence organisation or other professional body who wishes to indemnify you.
  • Any combination of the above.

Typically, professional indemnity insurance is provided based on the filing of claims. This indicates that claims made against you while your coverage is in effect will be covered by your insurance. Even if the occurrence occurred whilst your insurance was in effect, you are not protected when a claim is lodged about you after it has lapsed.

The regulator for professional indemnity for Pharmacists and related roles in the United Kingdom is the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPC). The GPC will hold an up-to-date registry of all registered pharmacists and pharmaceutical technicians.

Are The Same Arrangements In Place For Those Who Are Employed or Self-Employed?

The same agreements remain in place for both employed and self-employed pharmacists and pharmaceutical technicians. Where self-employed, a pharmacist or pharmaceutical technician must hold a valid professional indemnity arrangement from an appropriate professional body or trade union, this is a requirement by law under the Pharmacy Order 2010 to practice in the United Kingdom. This must be held on your own account and there are no exceptions to not having professional indemnity cover, it is illegal to practice without so. It is crucial that you fully understand the terms of your policy.

Where under employment, usually the employer will hold a professional indemnity agreement with an appropriate professional body to cover anyone working under the company against any liabilities. You should be provided with full cover against any relevant risks related to your role. If you are unsure of this it is best to check with your employer.

Are the same arrangements in place for those who are patient facing and non-patient facing?

The level of cover will usually vary between the type of role that you reside in. Where you are formally employed, your employer will usually decide upon an appropriate level of professional indemnity cover that will cover any aspects of your role which could leave you or your employer liable to any claims.

If you are self-employed, it is best to consult with your insurer or solicitor to determine the best level of cover that will be appropriate for your role.

What does an individual who is employed but also self-employed have to do?

If you are formally employed, you will be covered under your employer’s professional indemnity agreement for the duties that you perform as part of your employment alongside their subsequent risks. This covers both you and your employer against any potential claims or lawsuits for your actions, advice or products that are provided under the name of your employer.

You will require separate professional indemnity cover for the duties you perform as part of being self-employed as you will only be liable for yourself. Just because you are covered under your employer does not mean you are covered to operate as self-employed as well unless specified by your employer and their cover.

What does the professional indemnity have to cover?

Professional indemnity covers you as well as your employer where employed, against any malpractice, wrong doing, harm, products, services or advice that was given where a client or customer has been harmed or has incurred loss of any kind in relation to any of the services or dealings.

Is this the same for those who are employed or self-employed?

This is the same for both employed and self-employed persons in the pharmacy industry.

Are the arrangements the same for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland?

The arrangements are required throughout the United Kingdom in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland however the requirements and type of cover available may vary slightly in accordance with each country’s respective laws.

Are the existing arrangements fit for purpose?

Currently the existing arrangements are fit for purpose however they may be subject to change. You can keep up to date with all the arrangements on the GPC website. In terms of the indemnity insurance, it is illegal to practice without it, making it fit for practice. If you are unsure of what your indemnity insurance covers, you can contact your employer or insurance provider to find out.

The GPC has recently welcomed new legislation in the hopes to strengthen the governance of the pharmacy industry.  You can read about it here.

If not, what areas are ripe for reform?

There are always rooms for improvements, the GPC is consistently updating their guidance, standards and legislations meaning that occasionally professional indemnity coverage will also need to be updated in order to comply with the legislation and standards changes.

Updates To Look Out For

The GPC will be meeting on the 10th of November 2022, you can join the meeting here as well as find a copy of the papers to download. The meeting will cover any updates to legislation, standards, concerns registration and more.

If you want to ensure that your professional indemnity coverage is up to date, it is best to check with your employer or coverage provider who will be able to give you a full breakdown of what your coverage includes.