The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) has found that the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has met 15 out of 18 of the PSA’s Standards of Good Regulation in the year 2019:2020. The three standards not achieved in this report were related to the GPhC processes related to the fitness to practise process.
The PSA has acknowledged that the GPhC continued its work to address the concerns they reported last year about timeliness, customer service, reasoning in investigating committee decisions and the transparency and fairness of a number of fitness to practise processes.
The PSA said they saw evidence of improvements in investigating committee decisions, so no longer have significant concerns in this area.
The results published against all standards are outlined below:
- General standards (5 standards met out of 5).
- Guidance and standards (2 standards met out of 2).
- Education and training (2 standards met out of 2).
- Registrations (4 standards met out of 4).
- Fitness to practise (2 standards met out of 5).
For the first time, the performance assessment has taken account of the GPhC’s work in relation to registered pharmacies, and this has been reflected in the report.
In a statement on their website, the GPhC highlighted that the report covers the period from 1st March 2019 to 28th February 2020, so it does not comment on the GPhC’s regulatory response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The GPhC has also started a consultation on how they deal with fitness to practise concerns.
Commenting on the findings the PSA commented:
“The GPhC has implemented improvements to address the concerns we raised last year about its fitness to practise process. We saw improvements in the level of detail and reasoning in investigating committee decisions.
“However, the remaining work was not implemented in time for us to assess it as part of this review. Therefore, our concerns about timeliness, customer service and the transparency and fairness of a number of fitness to practise processes remain and we concluded that the GPhC has not met Standards 15, 16 and 18 of the Standards of Good Regulation.”
Commenting specifically on the fitness to practise concerns the PSA said the following:
“The GPhC has continued its work to address the concerns we reported last year about timeliness, customer service, reasoning in investigating committee decisions and the transparency and fairness of a number of fitness to practise processes.
“We saw evidence of improvements in investigating committee decisions, so no longer have significant concerns in this area. However, due to the timing of most of the other work in the GPhC’s action plan, and the period covered by this report, we have not yet seen the impact of the measures put in place to address our other concerns.
“We welcome the GPhC’s continuing commitment to address our concerns and will review progress next year.”
GPhC Chief Executive Duncan Rudkin said:
“We welcome the constructive feedback from the PSA. We are as committed as ever to improving as an organisation, so we can best support the needs of patients, the public and registrants.
“The action plan established in response to the previous review has resulted in improvements to our processes, as identified by the PSA in its report. We continue to build on these improvements in line with our action plan and regularly evaluate our progress.
“Our strategy about how we will manage concerns about pharmacy professionals in the future, which we launched this week, provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to share their views on how we can best achieve our aim of delivering a fitness to practise process that is more proportionate, person-centred and effective.”
You can read the full report by clicking here.
If you have ever been involved in the fitness to practise process Pharmacy in Practice would like to hear from you.