GPhC Council approves guidance on religion, personal values and beliefs

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has published new guidance to help pharmacy professionals when their religion, personal values or beliefs might impact on their willingness to provide certain services.

This is the first major review of guidance to sit under our new standards for pharmacy professionals and relates to standard 1, Pharmacy professionals must provide person centred care. The guidance has been developed to reflect the current legal framework and sets out the relevant factors that pharmacy professionals should consider to support their professional decision-making.  It includes key questions that pharmacy professionals should ask themselves when thinking about how they can ensure and demonstrate that they have provided person-centred care. 

The guidance also emphasises the important responsibilities of employers for creating and maintaining a person-centred environment and ensuring the safe and effective delivery of pharmacy services, as well as creating fair working environments for employees.

The new guidance incorporates feedback heard through the consultation process.   For example, we heard from respondents to the consultation that the guidance would be relevant to a wide range of situations, and not just those involving emergency hormonal contraception. 

The guidance is also clear that referral is still an option, but may not always be enough;
for example, if a service is not accessible or available elsewhere or, if due to the person’s vulnerability, a referral would effectively obstruct timely access to the service.

Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the GPhC, said:

“We recognise and respect that a pharmacy professional’s religion, personal values and beliefs are often central to their lives and can make a positive contribution to their providing safe and effective care to a diverse population. 

“This guidance is intended to reflect the broad range of situations when a pharmacy professional’s religion, personal values or beliefs might impact on their willingness to provide certain services. It  will support pharmacy professionals to make good decisions and provide person-centred care, within the legal framework.

“We would encourage all pharmacy professionals and owners to be familiar with this guidance and, where necessary seek further independent advice and support.”

The guidance does not give legal advice on equalities-related issues, but advises that pharmacy professionals and employers can get more information and guidance from professional bodies, indemnity insurance providers and other independent bodies listed in the guidance document.

View the guidance on religion, personal values and beliefs.