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GPhC to continue to ‘probe’ staffing levels in spite of cuts

General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) inspectors will continue to monitor pharmacies’ staffing levels, despite increased financial pressures caused by funding cuts in England, the regulator has said.

Contractors, superintendents and employee pharmacists should be “ready to demonstrate” during inspections that their staffing levels are safe and that staff are adequately trained for their roles, GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin stressed.

They should maintain these levels even after the government’s plans to slash England’s pharmacy funding by £113 million from December, Mr Rudkin told delegates at the GPhC’s central London event on tackling workplace pressures last week (October 18).

The event is the first part of the GPhC’s “programme of work” on the issue.

Mr Rudkin argued that it is not the regulator’s role to “have a position” on the sector’s funding, because it is independent from both the profession and the government.

He accepted that contractors, superintendents and responsible pharmacists will be “considering how to manage the impact” of the cuts. But the GPhC will not issue specific guidance on how pharmacies should be staffed to meet the requirements of different services, he added.

Whatever the “final detail” of the government’s funding plans, staffing levels must remain safe for the services each community pharmacy provides, Mr Rudkin said.

The safety of services should be constantly reviewed and staff should feel “empowered” to raise concerns when necessary, he added.

Opening the event, GPhC chair Nigel Clarke reminded delegates that the regulator’s role is to protect the public, rather than pharmacists.

Mr Clarke said that everyone working for the NHS will be subject to pressures, and branded targets a “reality of working life”.

While workplace pressure could not be resolved at the event alone, he hoped that it would start a “challenging conversation” for the profession, he added

Look out for more from C+D's coverage from the workplace pressures event later this week

Do you expect the funding cuts to affect your staffing levels?

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