I’ve been thinking a bit more on this.
I finally got a reply from the PSI to my email about Garda Vetting and why they have chosen not to get involved. It’s a real civil service type response. State the obvious and do not address the question.
Thank you for your email. Sincere apologies for the delay in responding.
The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 (NVB Act) provides that individuals who work with children and vulnerable persons must be vetted by the National Vetting Bureau (the Bureau). An employer may be guilty of an offence if they decide to employ a pharmacist or other staff member to work with children and vulnerable adults and do not obtain a vetting disclosure regarding that person from the National Vetting Bureau.
Garda vetting is a requirement of registration for some professionals and, in those cases, the vetting appears to be carried out by the regulatory authority which has responsibility for processing the applications for registration for the professionals concerned. Please note that Garda vetting is not a requirement of registration for pharmacists. However, pharmacists and pharmacy staff who work with children and vulnerable persons must be vetted.
You correctly point out that the vetting legislation does not provide for individuals such as Pharmacists to contact the Bureau directly to seek a vetting disclosure for themselves. The application has to be submitted to the Bureau through a “relevant organisation”. A relevant organisation is defined under the legislation to include employers.
The PSI’s understanding of the current process for an individual pharmacist to access vetting is as follows:
- An employed pharmacist should contact their employer and advise them that they need to submit an application for a vetting disclosure. The employer needs to register with the Bureau as a relevant organisation.
- A pharmacist doing regular locum work for a particular employer, should contact the pharmacy concerned and request them to submit an application for a vetting disclosure. The employer needs to register with the Bureau as a relevant organisation.
- A pharmacist doing locum work for a locum agency should contact the Agency concerned and request them to submit an application for a vetting disclosure. The locum agency will need to register with the Bureau as a relevant organisation.
- It is also my understanding that the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), which is also a relevant organisation, will conduct vetting on behalf of relevant organisations or other persons.
The PSI works to safeguard public health and safety, and assure trust in pharmacy through the system of regulation and engagement with its registrants. An employer must assure themselves of the suitability of their staff members, in regard to the roles and responsibilities assigned to them in the pharmacy.
If you require further information in this regard there is useful information available on the National Garda Vetting Bureau website: https://vetting.garda.ie/VettingProcedure/WhatIsVetting
I hope this information is helpful.
There is no mention of why the PSI did not get involved despite it being part of their function to protect the public. It would also be much more convenient if each pharmacist only had to be vetted once. Instead we have locums and employees who have to undergo the process several times if they work for more than one employer. It also means that the Gardaí have to duplicate the work as well.
It’s an abdication of their responsibility and they should hang their heads in shame. How can we have any respect for any of their guidelines or directives when it seems as if they have no respect for themselves.