GPhC discusses DH proposals to merge all health regulators

The GPhC said it is "engaging constructively" with the government
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is in discussions with the government about plans to merge all nine health regulators in the UK.

Under the long-mooted proposals, pharmacists could be regulated alongside other "high street" healthcare professionals – including dentists, optometrists and chiropractors.

In a report published last October – itself a response to a Department of Health (DH) public consultation launched in 2015 – regulator watchdog the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) recommended for a move to a “shared register” for professionals working in health and care.

The PSA said it believes a single register for "high street commercial premises", such as dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, osteopaths, and chiropractors, would “support multidisciplinary working, individual and collective accountability, and team-based regulation”.

GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin told C+D today (February 10) the regulator has been “engaging constructively” with the UK government, the devolved administrations, the PSA and the other regulators over discussions on the future of health professional regulation.

"We are waiting to see the government’s full proposals in their upcoming consultation, and will continue to contribute to the debate and to share our vision of what regulation can and should achieve for patients and the public," he added.

Fitness-to-practise

The PSA also recommended the adoption of a “shared approach” to fitness-to-practise cases, including the key elements of "investigation, prosecution and adjudication".

It also suggested that a single assurance body, holding a “shared public-facing register” of all health professionals, should be established.

The GPhC did not respond to C+D's question as to how this might affect pharmacists' fitness-to-practise proceedings.

Regulator "focused on pharmacy"

Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) chief executive Helen Gordon said the society "values having a regulator that is focussed on pharmacy, given the breadth of issues being worked on and the importance of development of the pharmacy profession”. 

The DH declined to comment when approached by C+D.

11 Comments
Question: 
What impact would this merge have on the sector?

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

the sooner the GPhC is disbanded the better, it is currently full off ex shoe shop workers!!

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

So we now include Hospital & Industrial Pharmacists in the "High Street Health professionals"? Also, given I know of several GP practices on the High Street, does that mean we can lump in the GMC? That wil be a "No" then!

Michael Keen, Community pharmacist

Another move further away from a self-regulating body of professionals setting their own high standards. Could one regulatorybody provide manpower and funds to oversee such a heavily regulated profession as pharmacy?

Meera Sharma, Community pharmacist

I don't think this is such a bad idea - at least there would be a bit of fairness in approach to dealing with some of the pharmacy issues, in line with other professions. If the GPhC currently doesn't have the "teeth" to do something about pressing issues, at least a multiple-organisation view couldn't do any worse!

Flagin Obi, Allocation & Distribution

the current leadership of gphc is an existential threat to pharmacists. cant really see why pharmacist are not coming together to stop this rot ?

Peter Smee, Design

Perhaps the GPhC could merge with what's left of Pharmacy Voice, so it can stop pretending to be different to the multiples.

max falconer, Superintendent Pharmacist

May not be all good news- check out how much other professions pay for their registration......keeping costs down is actually something the GPhC does quite well.

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

I'd rather pay a bit more to an organisation I could believe in rather than a bit less to one I know couldn't care less about me.

Dave Downham, Manager

Would this mean that people who haven't a clue about pharmacy would be the regulator? Please insert your own gag.

Ian Kemp, Community pharmacist

Duncan Rudkin long ago stated that the GPhC didn't need to be experts on pharmacy, they just needed to know about regulation. This seems the obvious next step. At least we should expect a consistent approach across the professions, only problem is that Duncan Rudkin might well get the gig.

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Can only get better. The current incumbent seems to have it in for the working pharmacist while cosying up to the multiples.

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