Guidance and Standards: reflect up-to-date practice and legislation/stakeholders' views and experiences are taken into account when revising/developing guidance
Standards for pharmacy professionals, the code of conduct, ethics and performance that registrants must adhere to were consulted on and agreed in the period under review. The GPhC completed two public consultations related to these standards. In response to the feedback and advice it received after it considered the views expressed by stakeholders in its first consultation, it changed an example in the standards and because of the implications of the changes it proposed, it amended its guidance on religion, personal values and beliefs. It sought views on these changes in the second consultation. This consultation received over 3,600 responses, with most of the responses received coming from people/organisations outside the profession.
Education and Training: process for quality assuring education programme is proportionate and takes account of stakeholder views
We carried out a further review to check the GPhC had addressed the recommendations made in an audit report. The GPhC told us it had acted on the suggestions made in the audit. It has revised its guidance for course providers and will complete a full evaluation of its methodology on interim accreditation visits later in 2017.
Registration: registrants maintain the standards required to stay fit to practise through CPD/revalidation
The GPhC carried out a formal consultation on its proposals for revalidation of pharmacy professionals, after participants confirmed that a pilot of a new approach to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) was easier to use and stakeholders considered it provided an assurance of fitness to practise. Arrangements for the revalidation of pharmacy professionals will be introduced in stages with full implementation expected to occur by 2020.
Fitness to Practise: revised threshold criteria
The GPhC consulted on proposals to revise the threshold criteria it uses to decide if a case should be referred to the Investigating Committee (IC). The criteria was revised to ensure it reflected the new Standards for pharmacy professionals and other changes to pharmacy regulation. The revised criteria were agreed in July 2017. They will be introduced in January 2018, after staff have received training on the changes and it has produced material outlining how decisions will be made.
Fitness to Practise: complaints/cases are reviewed, prioritised and dealt with as quickly as possible
An increase in the median time taken to apply for interim orders, an increase in the time taken for the IC to consider a case and a reduction in the number of cases concluded by the Fitness to Practise Committee (FtPC) prompted us to carry out targeted reviews of Standards 4 and 6. The increase in the time taken to apply for interim orders was largely due to the circumstances in six cases. Additional data and information relating to Standard 6 showed the GPhC had maintained its performance, but changes made to how it investigates cases before they are considered by the IC may be impacting its timescales. The further information provided showed there had not been a sizable reduction in the number of cases concluded by the FtPC. The work it is doing to strengthen its existing processes for interim orders and reduce the number of adjournments/postponements assured us that both Standards remain met.