UNITED Co-operatives has expressed their delight after one of the society's pharmacists, Ghislane Brant, was cleared of unprofessional conduct during the infamous Harold Shipman affair.
Mrs Brant (47), who managed the former Battersby's chemist shop in Hyde even before it was acquired by United around ten years ago, was criticised by Dame Janet Smith's Shipman Inquiry last year for allegedly "falling below the standards of a competent, conscientious pharmacist" by handing over diamorphine to the killer doctor.
But following a meeting of the Statutory Committee of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain in London last week, the professional body has announced that Mrs Brant had "no case to answer" in relation to complaints made following the publication of the report.
Following evidence from an RPS inspector and a pharmaceutical expert, committee chairman Lord Fraser said: "We could not discern a case requiring Mrs Brant's response.
"We would only observe in passing that long before Dr Shipman encountered Mrs Brant he had been murdering his patients and long after she was no longer in the picture, his criminality continued."
The hearing heard that the amount of diamorphine Mrs Brant was said to have supplied to Shipman ? who ran his surgery in the premises next door ? amounted to just 1.6 per cent of the total he accumulated and dispensed to patients.
Nia Evans, Superintendent Pharmacist of United Co-op Healthcare, commented: "United Co-operatives are delighted, but not surprised, that the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has found that Mrs Brant has no case to answer.
"Ghislaine is a valued and long-serving United employee, as well as being a very experienced and highly professional pharmacist she has now been vindicated by her professional body. We have maintained our faith in Ghislaine and supported her throughout her ordeal.
"Her diligent record keeping and the evidence she provided to the police played a key part in bringing Shipman to justice."
Added Ms Evans: "Ghislaine has remained in charge of our pharmacy in Hyde ? and retained our full confidence ? throughout the period since Shipman was arrested. She will now be able to continue her much appreciated service to the people of Hyde, secure in the knowledge that she is a highly regarded and respected member of her profession.
"She is grateful for the many expressions of support that she has received from patients, customers and fellow members of the profession at all levels."
Mrs Brant told reporters: "I am very relieved it's all over. I'm very grateful I can carry on practising."