The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has failed to meet three out of five fitness-to-practise (FtP) standards, following an annual review by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).
This is the third consecutive year that the GPhC has failed to meet standards relating to FtP, having last met all the necessary requirements in the PSA’s 2017/2018 review.
The PSA — an independent regulator that sets standards for all UK health regulators — published the review on 7 February 2022, which showed that the GPhC met all standards relating to guidance and standards, education and training, and registration between 1 March 2020 and 28 February 2021.
However, the pharmacy regulator failed to meet three standards relating to the transparency and clarity; timeliness; and support for people involved in the FtP process.
In response to the PSA’s 2018/2019 annual review, the GPhC was asked to implement a “wide-ranging action plan to address concerns” with its FtP process, the review said.
“The pandemic delayed some of this work but the GPhC has now completed most of the action plan. We have started to see improvements in some areas.
“However, there is still work to be done to improve the transparency and clarity of some fitness to practise processes, timeliness of case progression and support for people involved in the fitness to practise process,” it continued.
Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC, said in a statement on 7 February 2022 that improving the FtP process is a “key priority”.
“During the pandemic, we received high numbers of concerns, could not progress investigations as quickly as usual and had to rapidly move to remote hearings.
“However, we made sure we took forward work to finalise and implement our strategy on changing the way we manage concerns about pharmacy professionals.
“This continues to be a priority area for us, so we are able to take swift action to protect patients when needed, while at the same time promoting a learning culture that allows pharmacy professionals to deal with any concerns and go back to practising in appropriate circumstances.”