We have received a substantial number of concerns about the changes made to the General Pharmaceutical Council’s registration assessment this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic and how these changes have been handled. We appreciate that this is an important issue for many provisionally registered pharmacists and we acknowledge the impact that the cancellation of assessments has had. We are grateful to all those that have taken the time to provide feedback about their experience of the GPhC in relation to provisional registration and the registration assessment.
We are aware that the GPhC is taking action about the problem and recently published some statements on its website about it.
We will respond to all those who provided submissions to our Share Your Experience request. We are releasing this statement to explain our role and how we will consider the concerns that we have received.
We should be clear that we have no power to intervene or require any changes to be made to the registration assessment taking place later this month. Nor can we investigate or take action on individual cases.
We have a duty to report to Parliament on how the regulators are carrying out their duties to protect the public. This includes the work that they undertake in assessing and registering registrants. We fulfil this duty through annual performance reviews of each of the regulators.
The performance review process
In our performance reviews, we gather information about the regulator’s performance during the year and assess whether the regulator meets our 18 Standards of Good Regulation. These Standards include consideration of how well the regulator manages its four key regulatory functions:
- Guidance and standards
- Education and training
- Fitness to practise
We value the feedback we receive from those who engage with the regulator, which provides us with valuable insights. We will consider all the concerns that we have received about the assessments as part of this year’s performance review of the GPhC (which covers the period 1 March 2020 to 28 February 2021). Where necessary we will raise these with the GPhC and seek its comments.
Following this, we will decide whether the GPhC has met each Standard and will publish our decision and our reasons in a performance review report. Our reports do not include details of any individual matters but will discuss particular areas of its performance which have been raised with us and cause concern. You can find out more information about the performance review process here.