The General Pharmaceutical Council is to consult on permanent Rule changes to allow remote hearings.
At its October council meeting, the GPhC agreed to consult on proposed permanent changes to the General Pharmaceutical Council (Fitness to Practise and Disqualification etc) Rules 2010 (“Rules”) to give the express legal power to conduct hearings and meetings remotely by teleconference or videolink.
The GPhC said:
During the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and restrictions it was necessary to undertake most hearings by videolink. Undertaking meetings (of the Investigating Committee) and Fitness to Practise Committee hearings remotely by videolink proved to be successful in many ways including increased registrant engagement with the hearing process and largely positive feedback from participants.
This success has persuaded us to pursue permanent changes to our rules, similar to other health regulators, to allow greater flexibility in undertaking meetings and hearings.
It is acknowledged that some hearings are more suitable than others to be held in a certain way whether that be in-person or remote by videolink. Undertaking a 12-week public consultation will help to guide us on those questions of suitability.
The consultation will also focus on any negative or positive impact, on individuals or groups sharing any of the protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010, by holding hearings remotely by videolink.