For this review period the GPhC has met 20 out of 24 of our Standards of Good Regulation. The four Standards that the GPhC has not met relate to its performance against the Fitness to Practise Standards.
Education and Training: the process for reviewing/developing standards incorporates stakeholders' views and experiences
The GPhC has continued its review of its standards of education and training for the whole pharmacy team and has published new standards for the education and training of pharmacist independent prescribers. These took account of responses received to its consultation. The GPhC also consulted on changes to its standards for the initial education and training of pharmacists and will be undertaking further work in the light of the consultation with its stakeholders before finalising the proposed changes.
Registration: registrants maintain the standards to stay fit to practise
The GPhC has now fully implemented its programme requiring registrants to revalidate. From quarter three of 2018/19, it began reporting quarterly data on its revalidation activities, including:
- the number of complete submissions;
- the number of registrants entered into remediation; and
- the number of registrants removed from the register.
The GPhC is analysing the data it collects and evaluating the impact of revalidation. It plans to produce a short piece of feedback in 2020/21 and a more detailed evaluation in 2021/22.
Fitness to practise
Following our audit of a sample of closed fitness to practise cases, we concluded that the GPhC has not met four of the 10 Fitness to Practise Standards this year. These were Standards 5, 6, 7 and 8.
We identified concerns about:
- the transparency and fairness of some of the GPhC’s fitness to practise processes
- the timeliness of the GPhC’s investigations
- the support and information provided to parties involved in fitness to practise cases
- the quality of record-keeping
- the reasoning and consistency of decision-making at the initial stages of the GPhC’s fitness to practise process.
The GPhC accepted most of our audit findings and had already identified some areas for improvement prior to our audit, including the need to improve the information it provides to registrants and the need to improve the reasoning in Investigating Committee decisions. The GPhC has committed to put measures in place to improve its timeliness and customer service and has already begun reviewing its guidance documents and implementing measures to improve reasoning in its other decisions. We are encouraged by the GPhC’s commitment to implementing improvement measures and will monitor this work as it progresses.