Threshold for investigating complaints against pharmacists to change


Proposed revised threshold criteria for determining whether complaints made about pharmacists and pharmacy technicians should be investigated have been published by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) in a consultation document

The criteria are being updated to take account of changes in pharmacy regulation, which include new standards for pharmacy professionals being introduced in 2017. 

The GPhC is proposing six criteria across conduct, behaviour and health, which will replace the current 15 criteria listed under the seven principles of the current standards for conduct, ethics and performance. 

Under conduct and behaviour, the draft criteria state that the registrar will not refer a case to the investigating committee if it does not present an actual or potential risk to patient or public safety; it has not undermined, and is unlikely to undermine, confidence in the pharmacy profession; there has not been a serious or persistent failure to meet any of the standards for pharmacy professionals; and it does not show that the honesty or integrity of the registrant can no longer be relied upon. 

In terms of health, the criteria state that a case will not be referred if there is no self-harm or risk of self-harm to patients and the public. 

When considering a case against the criteria, the registrar will take into account the behaviour and actions of the registrant, that is whether they acted recklessly or with intent, whether it is a recurring issue and whether the registrant has shown insight or acted with openness and honesty, as well as the wider public interest. 

Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC, says: “We have a commitment to ensure that people who are entered on our register uphold our standards and are fit to remain on it. Key to this goal is a decision-making framework that ensures proportionate, fair and consistent decisions are made across all investigations.” 

The 12-week consultation will close on 7 March 2017 and the finalised criteria are expected to be published in 2017.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, January 2017, Vol 298, No 7897;298(7897):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20202104

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