GPhC responds to concerns raised by pharmacy professionals in relation to the case of Dr Bawa-Garba

Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the GPhC, said:

“We recognise that the GMC case of Dr Bawa-Garba has caused concern among pharmacy professionals. It is a difficult and tragic case and we will be considering any implications with others. We will actively engage with the rapid review commissioned by the Secretary of State and led by Professor Norman Williams, and carefully consider all of the outcomes of that review.

“It is widely accepted that the safety and quality of care that people receive is improved when pharmacy professionals are able to reflect on and learn from feedback and incidents. That is why we make clear in our standards for pharmacy professionals that they must speak up when things go wrong, and in our standards for registered pharmacies that pharmacy owners have an obligation to support pharmacy professionals to do this and promote a culture of openness, honesty and learning.

“We understand that pharmacy professionals may be worried about reporting errors and taking part in processes to learn from errors.  But it is vital for patient safety that errors are reported and discussed.  For this reason our revalidation proposals seek to encourage and support pharmacy professionals to reflect on where their practice could be improved during their peer discussion. We recognise there may be concern over how these reflections could be used, and so we want to be clear that we will not ask pharmacy professionals or peers to record what was discussed. Instead they will be asked to record how the process of having a peer discussion has benefited their practice. Records should not contain any details which could identify a patient.  We will be producing further information to help pharmacy professionals understand what they are expected to do.

“We only take forward the most serious cases in our fitness to practise process, where it is in the interests of patient safety or upholding public confidence in pharmacy. A single dispensing error would only be taken forward if there are significant other aggravating factors.  A key factor considered at each stage of a case is whether the pharmacy professional has acted with openness and honesty.”