The professional regulator wants to take responsibility for the training of community pharmacy staff away from the pharmacist and put it into the hands of the pharmacy owner or employer instead.
The move is set out in proposed new guidance from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) on governing a safe and effective pharmacy team, which involves the unregistered pharmacy workforce, such as non-registered managers and dispensing and medicines supply staff. The recommendations are now out for consultation until October.
The GPhC said it believes that the current regulations governing this workforce are out of date and fail to reflect what happens in the pharmacy day to day. They also do not take into account the changing role of pharmacy technicians.
In future, the GPhC is recommending that pharmacy owners or employers should be responsible for the training of this workforce as part of their regulatory obligations around registered pharmacies.
But it proposes that it will be up to the pharmacist to ensure that anybody they delegate a job to has the necessary skills to deliver the task.
The GPhC, at its July meeting, described the current regulations as “out of step with the modern approach to pharmacy regulation” and focusing on “narrow rules that no longer provide the right level of assurance”.
A report presented to the meeting went on: “There is an opportunity to update the regulatory framework to more appropriately ensure the safe and effective practice of unregistered pharmacy staff. This has included developing guidance for pharmacy owners to sit under the standards for registered pharmacies.”
The proposals come at the same time as the professional regulator admitted that its plans to update the education and training standards of the pharmacy workforce are of a greater scale than it originally anticipated when it began the work two years ago.
The GPhC revealed at its most recent meeting, held this month (July), that it has set up an internal programme board to regularly track the progress of its review of the standards, as well as establishing an outside advisory group to offer its views.
The GPhC expects the final proposals for the initial education and training standards for pharmacy technicians to go before its meeting in September.
The draft standards governing the initial education and training of pharmacist independent prescribers are due to go before the council at its meeting in November with the intention that they will be introduced in the middle of 2018, according to the GPhC.
A series of meetings across the profession and pharmacy sectors are due to take place later this summer as the regulator develops draft on initial training and education standards for pharmacists, which it expects to put out for consultation in the middle of 2018. The final proposals are expected to be ready by the autumn of that year.