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.
General Standards: the regulator provides accurate and fully accessible information about its work
The GPhC started publishing a range of information about its inspections work on its new dedicated inspections website. The information available includes individual inspection reports, examples of good, excellent and poor practice and analyses of trends and themes in inspection reports from November 2013 to August 2018. Prior to launching the new website, the GPhC commissioned a charity with relevant expertise to test its accessibility and implemented a number of improvements as a result.
Education and Training: maintains and reviews standards for education and training
The GPhC continued its work to develop new standards for the initial education and training for pharmacists. Following a consultation on its proposals, the GPhC carried out further stakeholder engagement to assist it in refining the standards.
Education and Training: students and trainees meet the regulator's requirements for registration
The GPhC collaborates with the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland on several aspects of their education and training functions. This year, the two regulators agreed to introduce a joint four-country registration examination to replace the current arrangement of separate examinations for Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The first sitting will take place in June 2021.
Registration: registrants continue to be fit to practise
The GPhC is using a new approach to pharmacy inspections which is more risk-based and intelligence-led. It has reported that this has led to an increase in enforcement activity. In response to concerns identified through inspections, the GPhC has taken action against individual pharmacies and has used the intelligence to highlight issues more widely to pharmacy owners or professionals.
Fitness to Practise
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.