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GPhC could suspend inspections due to coronavirus outbreak

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) could stop inspections if the coronavirus outbreak worsens, it has told C+D.

While GPhC inspections will continue as planned for the time being, suspending them could be a "potential option" depending on how the virus develops in the future, the regulator told C+D last week (March 6).

GPhC CEO Duncan Rudkin added that the regulator is “keeping the situation relating to coronavirus under active review”.

“Safe services”

The regulator is liaising “with governments, the NHS and other organisations and is preparing appropriately for potential options and scenarios, including in relation to pharmacy inspections”, Mr Rudkin explained.

“Our priority is making sure patients and the public continue to receive safe services from pharmacies and pharmacy professionals. We also have an important responsibility to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and everyone affected by our work,” he said.

Mr Rudkin added that the GPhC “will provide further updates about any action we decide to take in response to the developing situation if and when needed”.

The GPhC said last week it will take coronavirus into account if it receives concerns related to professionals on its register where the virus is a factor.

Meanwhile, NHS England has asked pharmacies to appoint a coronavirus lead and identify a space in the pharmacy where patients suspected to have the virus can be isolated.

As of today (March 9), 319 people had tested positive for coronavirus in the UK. England’s chief medical officer Chris Witty confirmed this afteroon (March 9) that a fourth patient had died due to the virus.

Do you think the GPhC should temporarily suspend inspections during the coronavirus outbreak?

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