GPhC launches consultation on Fitness to Practise strategy

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is consulting on ‘Managing concerns about pharmacy professionals: Our strategy for change’.

This newly developed strategy aims to give patients and the public better protection while being fair to pharmacy professionals. 

Engagement with stakeholders and changes in the regulatory environment have influenced the development of the revised strategy. It builds on key improvements the GPhC has already made to the way it manages concerns, as part of the overall aim to protect the public in a more effective, fair and proportionate way. 

Plans outlined in the strategy show the GPhC moving away from an approach that can, at times, be adversarial and slow, and can often have an unintended adverse impact on the mental health and wellbeing of people involved. Instead, the GPhC is proposing to take quick action to protect patients when needed, while at the same time promoting and encouraging a learning culture that allows pharmacy professionals to deal with any concerns and go back to practising in appropriate circumstances. 

The strategy also sets out how the regulator will take into account all relevant factors and risks around what went wrong, including looking at whether there are underlying system failures. Critically, the GPhC also aims to build its understanding of why it receives a higher number of concerns about black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) professionals than should be expected. 

The GPhC is asking for views on the proposed strategy including the following key aspects:

  • Strategic aims and outcomes
  • A new approach to assessing concerns once they are raised with us
  • Introduction of several, more flexible, outcomes to conclude a concern, such as using a reflective piece and mediation
  • Addressing any inequalities and the risk of bias within decision making
  • Improving the service it provides by being more person-centred
  • Sharing best practice and learning from others

GPhC Chief Executive Duncan Rudkin said:

“Over the last eighteen months we’ve carried out a range of research and engagement work to help prepare our draft strategy. It is clear from this work that our present approach to fitness to practise needs to change. 

“This strategy will help us improve how we manage concerns about pharmacy professionals and help us to achieve our Vision 2030. Our new approach will also help us to identify where there may be wider system failures that have contributed to things going wrong, which we need to work with others to address.

“We would encourage everyone to respond to the consultation and we are particularly keen to hear the views of patients and the public and pharmacy professionals, including those who have been involved in a fitness to practise concern.”

Read the consultation in full and share your views with us.

Notes to Editors

  1. The consultation runs from 27/10/2020 to 22/01/2021.