GPhC agrees changes to improve efficiency and effectiveness


The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is to make a number of improvements to the way it governs its fitness to practise proceedings, its statutory committees, the advisers to those committees and the evidence of identity required during the registration process.  The GPhC’s Council approved these changes at its meeting yesterday (15 November) after considering the outcomes of a consultation that was held earlier this year.


Council agreed that these changes to its rules will enable the GPhC to work more efficiently, while maintaining the quality of outcomes, and will give greater flexibility to allow a faster response to changes in workload. The new rules will also achieve a clearer separation of functions in Fitness to Practise procedures between the Council- which will set the policy framework- and the Investigating Committee and Fitness to Practise Committee, which apply the policies to individual cases.


The responses to the 12 week consultation were broadly supportive of the proposed changes, and Council decided to go ahead with all of the changes that were proposed.


The changes that will be made to the rules include:


  • making Council responsible for deciding policies regarding the criteria for referral of cases to Fitness to Practise Committee and appropriate sanctions.  The guidance documents produced by Council would be used by the statutory committees when they make decisions in individual fitness to practise hearings.  The Investigating Committee and Fitness to Practise Committees have previously produced their own guidance
  • allowing for variations in size of statutory committees by setting minimum and maximum numbers of panellists, to give us flexibility in responding to any future variations in workflow and availability
  • allowing panellists to be members of both the Fitness to Practise Committee and Appeals Committee, to provide greater flexibility and make sure panellists can maintain their skills.  Conflicts of interest would be avoided by making sure that a panellist assigned to an appeals case had not been involved in any related Fitness to Practise hearing
  • making changes to the requirements for identity checks for registration so it is more straightforward for applicants to provide the necessary identity documents, at the same time as making sure that identity documents are genuine.


The rules will be submitted to the Privy Council and laid before the UK and Scottish Parliaments before coming into force. The date for this is still to be fixed.


Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council, said:

“These changes to our rules will enable us to work more efficiently, while making sure we achieve good outcomes for the public and pharmacy professionals.

“It is also appropriate that our Council will now be responsible for setting the guidance that will be used by the Investigating Committee and Fitness to Practise Committee when making decisions on cases, as the Council is ultimately accountable for ensuring the fitness to practise of our registrants.  This change will also introduce the proper separation between those who set the policy for Fitness to Practise and those who apply it to individual cases.”


The report from the consultation on changes to the rules, which was also approved by Council at the meeting 15 November 2012


The twelve-week consultation ran from 19 April to 12 July 2012 and received 22 responses.