The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is seeking approval of its revised “Managing concerns about pharmacy professionals” strategy.
In council papers published by the pharmacy regulator, the regulator’s council is asked to approved the new strategy that aims to “move away from a process which can be adversarial, slow and have an unintended adverse impact on those involved” to one that enables the regulator “to take swift action to protect patients where necessary and at the same time promote and encourage a learning culture which enables pharmacy professionals to address concerns and return to practise in appropriate circumstances.”
The GPhC said the strategy has been influenced not only by this consultation exercise but also by what we heard through our engagement with stakeholders in autumn 2019, internal feedback and changes in the regulatory environment.
Once the strategy is adopted, the GPhC intends to take forward an implementation plan the council papers said.
The council papers revealed that, in general, the proposals received significant support from respondents. However, respondents also highlighted a number of concerns or potential challenges with various aspects of the strategy or suggested that the proposals should be tweaked in some way.
More specifically, respondents were strongly behind the proposed areas of enquiry to be considered during triage, the service promises and the notion of taking account of the wider context when assessing and managing concerns. Reflective pieces, mediation, remote hearings and personal experience statements prompted a more mixed response. Respondents raised issues with these proposals which are reflected in the changes outlined in the annex at the end of this paper. We have expanded on some of the key areas below.
Finally, the GPhC said the revised strategy will improve the timeliness of its investigations.
“The timeliness of our investigations was raised by a number of respondents. We recognise the impact that an investigation can have on everyone involved and that providing a timely outcome is part of being person-centred. We believe that some of the actions set out in our strategy, such as making more enquiries once we receive concerns, will resolve some concerns at an earlier stage. We are also taking various measures to improve timeliness as part of the improvement programme to meet the PSA Standards of Good Regulation.”