The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has dropped a proposal to stop accrediting training courses for non-registered pharmacy staff, following views expressed during a consultation that its role in approving courses was valued and maintained quality standards.
It is now proposing that the issue is looked at in more detail as part of its ongoing work into the training and education of unregistered pharmacy staff.
The council also decided not to introduce another proposed change that would have seen a requirement that training for those involved in dispensing and supplying medicines should meet recognised level 2 qualification in England, or level 5 in Scotland. Instead, the guidance will still allow for a level 2 qualification or equivalent.
A report discussed at the GPhC’s council meeting on 10 May 2018, said: “Subject to council’s agreement [which was given], we will retain the current policy, in relation to minimum training requirements and will continue to approve courses and training programmes until such time that the education development programme looks at this area in further detail.”
In a statement, the GPhC said: “We listened to feedback from a range of stakeholders through our consultation and engagement activities, which includes hearing from pharmacy professionals, organisations and patients and the public on the accreditation of qualifications. As a result, we committed to undertaking further work before considering whether to make any changes to our current practice.”
At its May 2018 meeting, the GPhC council also decided it wanted further consideration of proposals to strengthen its guidance on safe staffing for pharmacies.
Draft guidance, put before the council meeting, said pharmacy owners would in future have responsibility for the number of staff and the necessary skill mix to ensure that services were safe and effective.
They would be expected to review staffing numbers and ensure that they were competent and trained to deliver services, and owners should take a “tailored” and “flexible” approach to their own staffing levels as no two pharmacies will have the same needs and they operate in different contexts, the guidance said.
The draft guidance also said that a staffing plan should be developed in partnership with the owner’s responsible pharmacist. The plan should be regularly reviewed to make sure that it meets pharmacy need and takes into account feedback from employees.
The GPhC said: “The GPhC council discussed our proposals to strengthen our guidance on safe staffing, and were broadly supportive of these proposals. We are now reflecting on the feedback given and we are considering any changes that need to be made to the document in light of this feedback. We will then publish this guidance in due course.”