European rules promoting free movement of professionals within Europe have a direct impact on the way in which British regulators are able to protect the public by upholding registration standards. Following submission of written evidence to the House of Lords EU sub-committee on Social Policies and Consumer Protection, Duncan Rudkin, chief executive and registrar, and Martha Pawluczyk, registration manager, appeared before the sub-committee to give oral evidence on the mobility of healthcare professional and the European Commission’s plans to review the Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive.
As a regulator our first priority is to protect the public - doing this by developing, reviewing and upholding standards in qualifications and conduct for the pharmacy sector. Anyone who wishes to work as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician must be registered with us in order to practise.
The European Commission’s review of the directive and the House of Lords inquiry provide an opportunity to consider key issues relating to mobility of healthcare professionals, including pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. As part of the evidence, key points raised by the General Pharmaceutical Council include:
- The need to establish a duty on all European regulators to share fitness to practise information proactively;
- The need for greater clarity in legislation about when regulators such as the GPhC can test the language competence of EEA professionals wishing to register and work in Great Britain; and,
- The importance of ensuring that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians returning to practice after a break are up to date, wherever they qualified.