New guidance to ensure a safe and effective pharmacy team

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has published new guidance which sets out what pharmacy owners are expected to do to ensure a safe and effective pharmacy team and meet the standards set out under Principle 2 of the standards for registered pharmacies.

The standards under Principle 2 focus on making sure staff are empowered and competent to safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of patients and the public.

The new guidance covers both registered and unregistered staff in registered pharmacies, including managers who may not be registered pharmacy professionals.

The GPhC will be writing to all pharmacy owners to make them aware that the new guidance is in place and to ask them to take the necessary steps to ensure they are meeting our standards and have taken account of this guidance. GPhC inspectors will be looking for evidence that pharmacy owners are following the guidance and meeting the standards during inspections of registered pharmacies.

GPhC Chief Executive, Duncan Rudkin said:

“Every member of the pharmacy team plays a vital role in ensuring patient safety. This new guidance for pharmacy owners will help them to support the whole pharmacy team to deliver safe and effective care for patients and the public. This is particularly important at a time when the health and care services are facing significant challenges.

“We expect every pharmacy owner to review this guidance now and consider what they may need to do in response.”

“The feedback received through the consultation we held last year has been very helpful in developing the final guidance. For example, respondents suggested that further guidance was needed on staffing levels. In response, we have included a section in this guidance on what pharmacy owners should do to make sure there are enough suitably qualified and skilled staff in each pharmacy.

“We also believe this guidance will be helpful to other organisations who employ pharmacy professionals or provide pharmacy services across a range of settings – although we do not regulate all these settings."

The new guidance incorporates parts of the current initial training requirements for dispensing/ pharmacy assistants and medicines counter assistants. The consultation had proposed a potential change to the minimum training requirements for unregistered members of the team and a potential move away from the GPhC accrediting courses.

After considering the feedback to the consultation the Council decided that further work was needed to develop the future approach. The initial training requirements for unregistered members of the pharmacy team and accreditation of courses will remain the same while this work is taken forward.