Duncan Rudkin, the chief executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), emphasised that pharmacy owners must continue to make sure their pharmacies have enough staff, suitably qualified and skilled, for the safe and effective provision of the pharmacy services provided, even after the expected cuts to funding in community pharmacy come into effect.
In his address at our seminar examining ‘professionalism under pressure’ in London, Duncan acknowledged the likely impact of the expected cuts to pharmacy funding, but emphasised that pharmacy owners are responsible for ensuring they are meeting the standards for registered pharmacies in all of their pharmacies.
Pharmacy owners, superintendent pharmacists and responsible pharmacists were told to be ready to demonstrate how they are upholding the relevant standards to safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of patients and the public to GPhC inspectors and to expect particular scrutiny of whether there are enough suitably skilled and qualified staff at this time of change.
“We are independent from the pharmacy profession, the pharmacy sector and government and it is not our role to have a position on the structure or level of funding for community pharmacy services.
“Pharmacy owners in England will be considering how to manage the impact of the expected cuts to the funding they receive. Whatever the final detail, we want to remind them that they must make sure that:
- there are enough staff, suitably qualified and skilled, for the safe and effective provision of the pharmacy services provided
- pharmacy governance arrangements safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of patients and the public and
- the safety and quality of pharmacy services are kept under review
- staff are empowered to provide feedback and raise concerns about meeting these standards and other aspects of pharmacy services.
“These requirements are set out in our Standards for Registered Pharmacies, along with a number of other relevant and equally important matters.
“It is not for the regulator to set staffing levels; pharmacy owners must consider how many staff are needed within each individual pharmacy, what qualifications and skills staff should have and how they are deployed and managed to provide services safely and effectively. We will continue to probe in this area so pharmacy owners, superintendent pharmacists and responsible pharmacists should be ready to demonstrate how they are upholding the relevant standards to safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of patients and the public.”