The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), which is appealing against the decision by three senior Scottish judges to overturn a fitness to practise ruling, will go to the Supreme Court in order to clarify its disciplinary options.
The outcome may have implications for other professional regulators.
The GPhC is appealing against the decision by three senior Scottish judges to overturn a fitness to practice ruling after the judges in the Scottish Court of Session decided that the committee was wrong to strike off a pharmacist because of a conviction for assaulting his wife.
They said that instead the committee should have imposed a rolling 12-month suspension allowing them to extend the suspension for another 12 months once the original suspension had expired.
But the GPhC claims the judges have misinterpreted the Pharmacy Order 2010 which governs its regulatory sanctions and that there is no option for a rolling 12-month suspension.
GPhC chief executive and registrar Duncan Rudkin told said: “We think the court in Scotland got the law wrong. We think it is very important to get clarity about these things and certainty.”
He said, similar to other professional regulators, the fitness to practice sanctions against a pharmacist who is found unfit to practice include removal from the professional register or up to 12 months suspension from the register.
“The interpretation of the law by the Court of Session unsettles that understanding so it’s important to test that,” said Rudkin.
The GPhC has highlighted the case to other professional regulators and the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care – the statutory organisation which oversees the regulatory organisations of health and social care professionals. “The impact of this case could have implications for others,” added Rudkin.