GPhC launch equality, diversity and inclusion consultation to ensure its regulatory decisions are “demonstrably fair, lawful and so free from discrimination and bias.”
The consultation seeks views on the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) proposals to be more “proactive and joined” in the use of its regulatory influence to help “reform the structures and practices that maintain inequality and discrimination within pharmacy and pharmacy regulation.”
The GPhC’s fitness to practise process has been subject to criticism for the disproportionate representation of BAME registrants. The pharmacy regulator has also trialled redacting fitness to practise reports to guard against racial bias.
The draft strategy, which is the subject of the consultation, sets out three key themes “to help transform the GPhC’s approach to equality, diversity and inclusion.” These are:
- To make regulatory decisions that are demonstrably fair, lawful, and so free from discrimination and bias;
- To use our standards to proactively help tackle discrimination in all pharmacy settings and make sure everyone can access person-centred care, fostering equality of health outcomes;
- To lead by example and demonstrate best practice within our organisation, holding ourselves to the same high standards we expect of others.
Fitness to Practise
The GPhC said work is already underway to address issues associated with fairness and bias including minimising risk of potential biases and understanding why BAME pharmacy professionals are over represented.
However, the consultation recognises more work is required. The main focus of this is a lack of “diversity data” necessary to, amongst other things, “support people to make non-discriminatory regulatory decisions, across all parts of our organisation.”
GPhC Chief Executive Duncan Rudkin said:
“This strategy brings a new focus and energy to our efforts to progress how we deliver equality, improve diversity and foster inclusion. It provides a framework for the delivery of this work, across our organisation, in support of our Vision 2030 and Strategic Plan 2020-2025.
“For this strategy to be effective, we will need to work collaboratively with our colleagues and stakeholders across pharmacy to make this happen. We welcome views on our proposals to help us achieve our aims.”
The consultation is open from 19 April until 12 July 2021 and seeks views about the impact of the proposals on patients, the public, pharmacy professionals and employers.