§ 1. Mr. Wallace
asked the Minister of Health in view of the shortage of pharmacists and the consequent strain on available staff, what steps he is taking to ensure that routine checks of drug cupboards in hospitals are carried out.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Julian Snow)
It is the responsibility of hospital authorities to make suitable arrangements.
§ Mr. Wallace
That is all very well, but unfortunately hospitals are facing a great strain in ensuring adequate checks of drugs, which checks are vitally important to the question of staleness, which may mean that the drugs are dangerous to use. Furthermore, the shortage of staff imposes a strain on pharmacists trying to cope with the situation.
§ Mr. Snow
We recognise this difficulty. With regard to poisons, there is a statutory requirement to have these inspected at quarterly intervals by pharmacists or other persons appointed by the governing body.
With regard to non-poisons, the Aitkin Committee recommended in 1958 that hospitals should arrange for quarterly inspections also to be carried out by pharmacists.
There is another Question on the Order Paper with regard to the shortage of pharmacists.