Our research publications by topic

We carry out and commission a wide range of research to gain up-to-date intelligence about the pharmacy sector, and to inform our work. 

Below are links to all our published research reports listed by topic. You can also view the publications listed by year

Please note that some of the research below was carried out by independent organisations who we commissioned. Where this is the case, we may not share all the views expressed in the reports. 

Click on a topic below to explore our research publications:



Managing concerns

Pharmacy technicians

Pharmacist prescribers

Public perceptions

Pre-registration surveys

Register analyses

Registrant surveys




Research on the Standards for the Initial Education and Training of Pharmacy Technicians

This research report examines how the 2017 standards for the initial education and training of pharmacy technicians (IETPT) have affected professional practice.

The research was commissioned by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) in 2023 and carried out by the Centre for Pharmacy Workforce Studies (CPWS) at the University of Manchester and the consultancy service, ICF. 

Its primary purpose was to examine whether the 2017 standards for the initial education and training of pharmacy technicians have made a difference to the skills and performance of pharmacy technicians in comparison to the previous 2010 standards. It examined how the standards have affected the experiences of newly qualified pharmacy technicians, employers, and course providers.

The findings of this research will help inform the work we are doing to review and update the 2017 IETPT standards.

Follow this link to find out more about this research

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on pre-registration training and provisional registration 

The GPhC supported Keele University in their research investigating the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on provisionally registered pharmacists, pre-registration trainees and pre-registration tutors. The pre-registration trainees were a diverse group consisting of those who had chosen to remain as pre-registration pharmacists for personal reasons and those who were ineligible to join the provisional register. The pre-registration tutors were particularly keen to share their thoughts on how the pandemic has impacted both the 2019/20 and 2020/21 cohorts. 

Follow this link to find out more about this research


Pharmacist registration assessment – performance of Black-African candidates

We published a report in 2016 that examines the performance of Black-African candidates in the Registration Assessment in 2013, 2014 and 2015. We were prompted to examine this issue after registration assessment results indicated that Black-Africans performed less well than other groups. 

We commissioned the Office for Public Management (OPM) to conduct qualitative research to provide insights into the factors affecting their performance.

Qualitative research into registration assessment performance among Black-African candidates 2016 [PDF 826 KB] – full report

Pharmacy technician education and training standards

The below report, published in 2015, presents commissioned research undertaken jointly by the London Pharmacy Education and Training and UCL School of Pharmacy. The researchers explored the scope of the current initial education and training standards for pharmacy technicians and the extent to which the employers of pharmacy technicians and other stakeholders think the standards are fit for purpose.

An analysis of the initial education and training standards for pharmacy technicians and views on their fitness for purpose 2015 [PDF1.49 MB] – full report

Quality of pharmacy technician education and training

In 2014, we commissioned the University of Manchester to conduct the first comprehensive study into the quality of pharmacy technician education and training since it became a fully regulated profession in 2010.

The quality of pharmacy technician education and training 2014 [PDF 893 KB] – full report   


We inspect registered pharmacies to check that they are meeting our standards for safe and effective care. See our Pharmacy Inspections website to access published inspection reports and to find out if a pharmacy has met or not met all of our standards for registered pharmacies.

Learning from inspections

Between November 2013 and August 2018, we inspected over 14,000 registered pharmacies in England, Scotland and Wales. In late 2018, we commissioned Solutions for Public Health (SPH) to analyse the inspection reports to identify any key characteristics of pharmacies and common themes in the reports that correlate with performance against our standards for registered pharmacies. The reports of the research are available below:

The full report [PDF 3.14 MB] contains the complete findings from the commissioned research from SPH and includes a full set of appendices and details of the methodology used.

A shorter summary report [PDF 767 KB] is also available which highlights the key research findings.

Our insights report [PDF 877 KB] covers the key findings from SPH’s research, further analysis of the factors that affect performance, a summary of the key messages and next steps. Our insights report is also available in Cymraeg [PDF 951 KB]

Evaluation of inspection model

In 2015, we commissioned ICF international to conduct an evaluation of our approach to regulating registered pharmacies.

Evaluating the GPhC’s approach to regulating community pharmacies 2015 [PDF 2.41 MB] – full report

Evaluating the GPhC’s approach to regulating community pharmacies 2015 [PDF 1.19 MB] – detailed annexes

Please note that our approach to inspections evaluated in the above report was in operation from November 2013 to April 2019. We have since updated our approach to improve the way we regulate and inspect registered pharmacies. Follow this link to find out more about our current approach to inspections

Managing concerns

Protected characteristics of pharmacists involved in the managing concerns process for 2021/22

This report provides a breakdown of concerns raised about pharmacists by age, ethnicity and sex in 2021/22, looking specifically at concerns received and investigated, statutory outcomes of closed concerns and progression through the process.

In line with our ‘Delivering equality, improving diversity, and fostering inclusion’ strategy, we are committed to making regulatory decisions that are demonstrably fair, lawful and free from discrimination and bias, and using all of our regulatory levers and influence to help tackle discrimination, making sure that everyone can access inclusive and person-centred care.

Through our strategy work, we’re also committed to publishing more diversity data to support visibility and intelligence sharing across the pharmacy sector, to identify and monitor any disproportionate impacts on different groups, and to take steps to understand and deal with potentially discriminatory outcomes.

Read the report in full [PDF 1MB]  

Pharmacy technicians

Our Pharmacy Technician Clinical Leadership Fellow 2018/19 undertook research to increase our understanding of whether there are things that we or others could do, or not do, to support the pharmacy technician profession as it continues to advance to meet the future needs of pharmacy and the public.

Barriers and enablers to the pharmacy technician profession 2019 [PDF 384 KB] – full report   

Pharmacist prescribers

In July 2015, we launched a survey sent to all pharmacist prescribers on our register to gain a more holistic picture of prescribing practice. This report presents the analysis of the responses we received.

Prescriber Survey 2016 [PDF 653 KB] – full report  

Pre-registration surveys  

Pre-registration surveys 2016

We conducted a pre-registration pharmacist tutor survey and pre-registration pharmacy technician training survey for the 2014-2015 training year alongside an analysis of pre-registration trainee pharmacist dissatisfaction for the 2013/14 training year.

Follow this link to see all the reports findings and infographics   

Public perceptions

Using pharmacy services

We are keen to understand the experiences and expectations of those using pharmacy services. This report contains the findings of a public perceptions survey carried out by Ipsos Mori on our behalf in 2015. 

Public perceptions of pharmacies 2015 [PDF 4.35 MB] – full report

Patient-centred professionalism

To help inform a review of our professional standards – the primary document that sets out the behaviours, attitudes and values expected of pharmacy professionals and explains the standards that all pharmacy professionals must comply with – we commissioned Community Research in 2015 to explore what patient-centred professionalism or being professional means to patients and the public.

Patient and Public Feedback on Patient-centred Professionalism in Pharmacy 2015 [PDF 276 KB] – full report  

Register analyses

Pharmacy technician register analysis 2012

The first baseline analysis of the register of pharmacy technicians. The analysis was undertaken by the Centre for Pharmacy Workforce Studies, School of Pharmacy, University of Manchester on our behalf.
GPhC pharmacy technician register analysis 2012 [PDF 483 KB] – full report

Pharmacist register analysis 2011

An analysis of the register of pharmacists was undertaken and comparisons between 2010 and 2011 are presented. The analysis was undertaken by the Centre for Pharmacy Workforce Studies, School of Pharmacy, University of Manchester on our behalf.

GPhC pharmacist register analysis 2011 [PDF 762 KB] – full report  

Registrant surveys

We commissioned independent research in 2013, and again in 2019, to understand more about the roles and responsibilities, work settings and future work plans of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and how these are evolving to meet changing societal and patient needs. 

Please note that the 2019 survey was updated from 2013 to reflect current practices in pharmacy and this inevitably led to some differences between the two questionnaires. Where comparisons between 2013 and 2019 are possible, they have been presented in the trend report. All other reports from these surveys are snap shots of pharmacy practice in 2013 and 2019. To view these reports, please click on the links below:

GPhC survey of registered pharmacy professionals 2019

During summer 2019, we commissioned Enventure Research to carry out the second iteration of our survey of registered pharmacy professionals. All pharmacists and pharmacy technicians were invited to respond to the online survey and we received over 18,000 responses with an overall response rate of 23.1%. 

Survey of registered pharmacy professionals 2019 - reports and questionnaire

GPhC registrant survey 2013

In autumn 2013 we commissioned NatCen Social Research to carry out a survey of registered pharmacy professionals. This was the first survey of its kind carried out by the GPhC and it provides important insights into areas including employment, responsibilities and appraisals.

All pharmacy technicians and a large probability sample of pharmacists as well as pharmacist prescribers were invited to take part in the paper-based survey. Over 29,000 registered pharmacy professionals responded to postal-based survey and we achieved a response rate of 56.4%.

Follow this link to see the 2013 survey reports and questionnaires

Registrant perceptions of GPhC services

In spring 2018, we invited a sample of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy owners on our register to take part in a survey about their views of our services and communications. We received 508 completed responses to the survey, and this report presents an analysis of what we heard.

GPhC registrant survey – your views of the GPhC’s services and communications 2018 [PDF 517 KB] – full report   


Reflection on learning and practice

We piloted a new continuing fitness to practise framework (CFtP) which aimed to increase registrants’ reflection on learning and practice and ensure that improvements are made that benefit patients and the public. The framework requires fewer reflective CPD entries, but the addition of a case study and a peer discussion. Solutions for Public Health (SPH) were commissioned in 2017 to evaluate the pilot framework using a mixed method approach. 

Continuing fitness to practise pilot evaluation 2017 [PDF 5.4 MB] – full report 

Review of Continuing Professional Development

We commissioned IFF Research to conduct a review of continuing professional development (CPD) as part of its development of a “Continuing Fitness to Practice Framework”. The study included a review of 200 registrants’ CPD records (1,000 individual activity records) completed between 2010 and 2015, and analysis of qualitative feedback from those involved in the process in order to improve it in the future.

GPhC review of continuing professional development 2015 [PDF 770 KB] – full report