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Ask a Practice Consultant: Responsibilities of Designated Managers

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For a community pharmacy to operate, it must be managed by a pharmacist in Part A of the register who is named the Designated Manager (DM) by the owner of the pharmacy. While the College holds all its registrants accountable for their practice, the DM bears the same liability as the owner and corporate directors for complying with the requirements set out in the Drug and Pharmacies Regulation Act and its regulations which govern the accreditation and operation of the pharmacy.

To accept the role of the DM, the pharmacist must acknowledge the additional responsibilities, accountabilities and obligations set out in College standards, policies and guidelines.

Pharmacy Connection asked College practice consultants to share more insight into the role of the DM.

Role of College Practice Consultants

College practice consultants guide registrants to the practice tools, standards, policies, guidelines, legislation, and other resources available on the College’s website to help them in their professional practice. Registrants use these resources, in combination with their skills, knowledge and judgement, to help determine the appropriate course of action.

Responsibilities of Designated Managers

What are the minimum number of hours that the Designated Manager (DM) needs to work at the pharmacy? Is there a limit on how long a DM can be away from the pharmacy, such as on vacation or leave?

The College does not stipulate the number of hours a DM must work at their pharmacy nor set out time limits for absences. Rather, the responsibility is on the DM to determine the amount of time they need to be present to fulfill their obligations.

The DM is responsible for the overall day-to-day operation of the pharmacy whether they are physically present or not. In the event of an extended period of absence for any reason, it is up to the registrant to decide if they can continue to meet their obligations and duties as DM during this time or whether another pharmacist should take on this role in the interim. Whenever there is a change in the DM, the pharmacy owner must file notice of the change with the College.

What happens when a pharmacy does not have a Designated Manager (DM)? Could a pharmacist take on this role at more than one community pharmacy?

Pharmacist owners/directors automatically assume responsibility in the absence of a DM. If there is no DM on a pharmacy’s record with the College, a representative from Pharmacy Applications & Renewals will follow up with the owner/director liaison. Compliance with the Drug and Pharmacies Regulation Act, which requires a DM to be on the public register, is a requirement for the annual renewal of the pharmacy’s certificate of accreditation.

Nothing prohibits a pharmacist from acting as the DM at more than one community pharmacy. It is the pharmacist’s responsibility to ensure they are capable of fulfilling their obligations at every pharmacy where they hold this designation.

What are some of the key responsibilities that a Designated Manager (DM) has over and above that of a staff pharmacist or pharmacy technician?

The DM has authority and accountability over decisions affecting the operation of a pharmacy and is responsible for effectively overseeing the day-to-day management of the pharmacy.

Regulations place the responsibility of maintaining the standards of accreditation on the owner and DM. To ensure staff engagement and understanding in maintaining these standards, the DM must provide access and orientation to the pharmacy’s policies and procedures and have systems in place to assess ongoing compliance. For example, policies and procedures should address how pharmacy staff are required to collect, use, protect, store and dispose of personal health information, especially when using technology to deliver patient care.

DMs must meet and maintain the Standards of Operation for the pharmacy, which include implementation of the College’s Assurance and Improvement in Medication Safety (AIMS) program to support patient safety and continuous quality improvement. Internal policies and procedures must be regularly reviewed and updated in response to changes in the practice environment (i.e., public health emergencies, amendments to legislation, new equipment, etc.).

The Policy – Professional Supervision of Pharmacy Personnel further describes the role of the DM in human resources management, such as ensuring:

  • adequate supervision of both professional and lay staff to perform their assigned duties
  • controlled acts are only performed by regulated staff or under delegation.
  • workflow processes are sound, robust and consistently followed to optimize the delivery of professional services
  • staffing supports registrants in meeting the standards of practice for patient care at all times

A comprehensive list of obligations can be found under the Role of Designated Manager section in the Application for a Certificate of Accreditation and/or Change of Designated Manager Form.

TIP: Access the Designated Manager Practice Tool for relevant standards, policies, articles and the College’s Designated Manager (DM) e-Learning module which provides an overview of the key responsibilities of a DM.

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