Gisela’s blog: Get involved and influence how we regulate pharmacy

In her blog for this edition, our Chair, Gisela Abbam, shares what we’ve been hearing from pharmacy professionals and patients and the public through our engagement work, and encourages pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to get involved in our new forums.

April 2024
Picture of Gisela Abbam, Council Chair, sitting down

Welcome to this edition of Regulate, where we share insights and learnings on a wide range of subjects including what good clinical governance looks like in a community setting, how to provide inclusive pharmacy services for patients with ADHD and good practice in embedding the duty of candour.

Firstly, I want to share what we’ve been hearing from pharmacy professionals and patients and the public through our engagement work. And I want to encourage you to get involved in one of our forums, and to help inform and influence our work.

As Chair of the GPhC Council, I find it invaluable to meet people working across the pharmacy sector, people who use pharmacy services and our future pharmacy technicians and pharmacists. Hearing from all those with an interest in pharmacy has helped to illuminate common themes from different perspectives. What we have been hearing is helping to inform our work and develop our insights on the topics and issues that matter to people.

We have listened carefully to feedback from patients, the public and pharmacy professionals, all of whom have expressed concerns about the increasing pressures facing the sector. We have shared this information with relevant stakeholders and we are looking into what we can do as a regulator.

Patients and the public, and pharmacy professionals, have told us that providing additional services such as diagnosing and treating some minor ailments in pharmacies is a welcome step, but that there needs to be enough staff and other resources available to make it work well for everyone. The increase in the number of pharmacist independent prescribers is also welcomed, but again we’ve heard about the need to make sure there is enough support and resources available for pharmacist independent prescribers to successfully complete their training and then use their qualification to prescribe for patients.

We’ve also heard that the demands and pressures that you are facing can sometimes take a toll on mental health and wellbeing. We are committed to working with other stakeholders, to ensure a coordinated and collaborative approach to issues of wellbeing in pharmacy. As part of this, we’ve asked Pharmacist Support to write an article for this edition of Regulate to share more information about their services.

For both professionals and the public, access to patient records is seen as essential to providing these services optimally. We agree that access to patient records enhances the services pharmacy professionals provide, including prescribing, while giving additional reassurance to patients and the public, and are continuing to call for full read-write access for patient records. To this end we have been following up on the progress to achieve this.

What we have been hearing from you has been making a real impact on us and we will be continuing and expanding our programme of engagement this year.

Apply to join our new forums for pharmacy technicians and pharmacists

Last year we established three stakeholder forums for patients and the public, students and trainees, and pre-registration trainee pharmacy technicians. Forum members share their experiences and suggest topics for discussion. We use what we hear through the forums to inform our work and to check that what we are doing takes into consideration the issues being raised by forum members.

We are now setting up forums for pharmacy technicians and pharmacists. We are interested in hearing from people across different sectors, at different stages in their careers and from all around Great Britain who would be interested in joining our forum. Forum members need to attend four virtual evening meetings a year. All forum members receive shopping vouchers to thank them for their time.

If you would like to apply to join our pharmacy technician or pharmacist forums, please complete this survey by 31 May 2024.

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