Liberal Democrat peer Lord Kirwood of Kirkhope has been appointed independent chairman of a group set up to provide expert advice to pharmacy regulators about continuing fitness-to-practise reforms.
Kirkwood, who trained as a pharmacist and lawyer and was MP for Roxburgh and Berwickshire from 1983 until 2005 when he became a life peer, will be paid £500 a day for a maximum ten days’ work a year as he helps steer the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) through the changes.
The reforms will introduce new ways to assess the continuing fitness to practise of pharmacists, a process also known as revalidation. They are expected to be implemented in 2018.
Lord Kirwood says it is important the GPhC achieves “patient-centred professionalism”, adding: “My role is to achieve a common view on how to achieve this without having a negative impact on improving services to patients and other service users.”
Nigel Clarke, chairman of the GPhC, says Lord Kirwood has a responsibility to bring together all stakeholder views “helping to make sure that the new arrangements are effective, while not placing a disproportionate burden on pharmacy professionals and their employers”.
The appointment was announced as the GPhC published a slightly revised timetable for introducing its reformed continuing fitness-to-practise arrangements.
The overall date for implementation in 2018 and the 2017 deadline for consultation and preparation remain the same. Testing and piloting will take place between 2015/2016 and 2016/2017, slightly later than originally planned.