Garda vetting requirements apply to any work or activity, where it is a necessary and regular part of this activity to have access to, or contact with, children or vulnerable persons. It shoud come as no surprise that at the very minimum this includes pharmacists and pharmaceutical assistants who work directly with patients and may include other pharmacy employees.
With just 2 weeks to go, it now turns out that this requirement has been sitting quietly in the The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act since 2012.
So what's going on and what do you need to do?
According to the IPU, the PSI have refused to take on the obligations of acting as an umbrella organisation for the Garda vetting process, so now they have stepped in instead. This is because it's not practicable for the National Vetting Bureau to register all organisations (i.e. Retail Pharmacy Businesses) directly. A proxy has to be set up to channel the applications and the IPU has volunteered in the 11th hour to take on this role.
The deadline for completion of the Garda vetting process is the end of April 2018 and from May 2018, all pharmacists and pharmaceutical assistants will have to be vetted before taking on new employment (even if they had been already vetted by another pharmacy).
So, if you're already in employment you don't need to alarm yourself too much, as this obligation lies with your employer. On the other hand, if you're a locum or looking for a new job, this will complicate your life somewhat.
In short what's going to happen is that the IPU will send a list of all pharmacy owners to the National Vetting Bureau (a chain will be treated as a single business so the employees can easily move within that chain). Pharmacy owners will then nominate Affiliate Liaison Person (most likely pharmacy owner or HR Manager) who will manage the process within their business and liaise back with the IPU. Each pharmacist and pharmaceutical assistant (vetting subject) will be asked to manually complete and sign a Vetting Invitation Form, thereby giving consent for vetting process and provide proof of identity. The Affiliate Liaison Person will then check your proof of identity (i.e. Passport), and record the required information on the Pharmacy Spreadsheet document. This spreadsheet will then be signed by the Affiliate Liaison Person and passed on to the IPU (plus payment) who will then submit the data to the eVetting portal. The National Vetting Bureau (garda.ie) will then send the vetting subject an email with a link, inviting him/her to complete an online Vetting Application Form. The vetting subject will then need to complete the form and submit it to the IPU, who will review the form and, if everything is in order, forward it to the National Vetting Bureau. If there are any issues with the form, it will be returned to the vetting subject along with instructions on what needs to be fixed. The National Vetting Bureau will then process correct applications and forward a vetting disclosure to the IPU. They will in turn forward the vetting disclosure to the designated Affiliate Liaison Person, who will review it and provide the vetting subject with a copy.
Agency locums will be vetted through their agency. Freelance locums will have to be vetted through each employer separately. IPU listed locums can get vetted directly through IPU. Details for this process will be made available to those on the list directly. Pharmacy Owners who are pharmacists should complete the Vetting Invitation Form, however this must be witnessed and initialed by another pharmacist beside this entry on the pharmacy spreadsheet document. Technicians are not specifically named in the Act, so it is up to the pharmacy owner to make the decision whether or not to vet technicians and/or other staff based on the type of work they do. It would be prudent to vet any employees who might be involved in providing a service inside a consultation area to a child or a vulnerable adult.
OK that was pretty complicated and you may have other questions. We invite you to join the conversation in our private forum, where we will share additional information including applicable forms and an FAQ. Registration is required to access the private forum, but unlike the above process it only requests your email and is super-duper quick.