GPhC guidance on managing fitness to practise concerns in pharmacy education and training

The GPhC provides guidance to education and training providers on how to manage fitness to practise concerns about students and trainees. This is to help them put in place robust and effective fitness to practise procedures.

Revised guidance 2020

This guidance is intended to provide advice to everyone involved in the education and training of pharmacy professionals about their responsibilities in relation to the fitness to practise of students and trainees. It also provides information on how to assess and address fitness to practise concerns in students and trainees.

Although this guidance is aimed at education and training providers, students and trainees may also find it useful. It can help them understand how educators deal with professionalism concerns and fitness to practise issues.

We have updated the guidance so that it can be used by all providers of education and training which lead to pharmacy professional registration.

The revised guidance:

  • now applies to all providers of education and training that lead to pharmacy professional registration, including pharmacy technician education and training and pharmacist pre-registration training
  • includes information on recognising and managing issues before they result in fitness to practise concerns.

Read the revised guidance [PDF 855 KB]

Case studies

We have also developed

The case studies cover a number of issues that can occur in a range of education and training settings and relate to aspiring pharmacy professionals, including pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. They are designed to help individuals, including students and trainees, and organisations interpret and understand the principles of the guidance in practice.

Guide to the case studies

The advice in the case studies below is only illustrative of the sorts of concerns which could call a student’s fitness to practise into question and is not exhaustive. The outcome of each case will depend on its particular facts. We have categorised them by theme, student or trainee role and the case study scenario setting. Click on the headings below to view the details:

Case study  1

Theme: Serious misconduct

Student or trainee role: Pharmacy student

Setting: Pharmacy school

Follow this link to read case study one [PDF 446 KB].

Case study  2

Theme: Drug misuse

Student or trainee role: Pre-registration pharmacist trainee

Setting: Small community pharmacy

Follow this link to read case study two [PDF 446 KB].

Case study  3

Theme: Academic malpractice and plagiarism

Student or trainee role: Pharmacist

Setting: Independent prescribing programme (university)

Follow this link to read case study three [PDF 446 KB].

Case study  4

Theme: Inappropriate use of social media

Student or trainee role: Pharmacy student

Setting: Hospital pharmacy

Follow this link to read case study four [PDF 446 KB].

Case study  5

Theme: Managing health issues

Student or trainee role: Pre-registration pharmacist trainee

Setting: Large multiple pharmacy group

Follow this link to read case study five [PDF 446 KB].

Case study  6

Theme: Dishonesty

Student or trainee role: Pre-registration pharmacy technician trainee

Setting: Large pharmacy

Follow this link to read case study six [PDF 446 KB].

Case study  7

Theme: Reasonable adjustments

Student or trainee role: Pre-registration pharmacy technician trainee

Setting: Hospital pharmacy

Follow this link to read case study seven [PDF 446 KB].

Case study  8

Theme: Resolving issues locally

Student or trainee role: Pre-registration pharmacy technician trainee

Setting: Small chain of community pharmacies

Follow this link to read case study eight [PDF 446 KB].

Links to useful resources for managing fitness to practise concerns in pharmacy education and training

Sources of support for student and trainee pharmacy professionals

Support, advice and representation

Pharmacist support

Northern Ireland pharmacists' advice and support service (PASS)

Pharmacists’ defence association (PDA)

Other resources for advice and support

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) - Psychosocial support and wellbeing page ('Learn' portal)

GPhC Pre-registration enquiries (email)

General Medical Council (GMC) - Guidance on professionalism for medical students

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) -  Guidance on health and character [PDF 420 KB]

National Union of Students (NUS)

Organisations reviewing complaints from students

Office of the Independent Adjudicator for higher education (England and Wales)

Scottish public services ombudsman (SPSO)

Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman (NIPSO)

Sources of support for employers and training providers

Support and information on managing concerns

Trainees requiring additional Support (TRAS):

Equality and Human Rights Commission (advice to individuals and organisations on equality and diversity issues)

Training commissioning and professional bodies

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) - pharmacy

Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) – pharmacy

Health Education England (HEE) - pharmacy

Other processes for reporting concerns

See more information with regards to reporting concerns about education and training providers.

Follow this link for more details about the procedures for reporting concerns about an individual pharmacist or pharmacy technician.