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Watchdog praises GPhC fitness-to-practise procedures

Fitness-to-practise The Professional Standards Authority has found "nothing that gave cause for concern" after auditing 100 of last year's GPhC cases, but did criticise the regulator's record keeping and correspondence.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has dealt with fitness-to-practise cases robustly and promptly but must make improvements in its record keeping, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) has found.

An audit of 100 GPhC cases between February and July last year found "nothing that gave cause for concern", but the PSA called on the regulator to improve its documentation and correspondence.

Problems included delays and gaps in correspondence during the transition of regulatory powers from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society to the GPhC, which left two registrants unaware they were under investigation.

In three cases, the GPhC also failed to tell the complainant the outcomes of the hearings.

A PSA audit of 100 GPhC cases between February and July last year found "nothing that gave cause for concern"

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And, although the PSA agreed with the GPhC's decisions in closing cases, it recommended that the regulator should review the risks associated with having one person making decisions in certain parts of the fitness-to-practise process.

It also urged the GPhC to "ensure consistency around cases where harm has been alleged" by obtaining further information from complainants and experts.

But the PSA praised the GPhC for its robust investigations and said risk assessments continued to be a strength for the regulator. It also highlighted that the GPhC had displayed "particular good practice with the timeliness of casework" and had addressed previous delays by recruiting more staff, introducing a database and a new investigation process.

GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said he was pleased the PSA had identified the regulator's progress in dealing with fitness-to-practise cases and pledged to address the points raised. "We are continually working to make further improvements, including the areas recommended in this report, in order to meet the high standards we want to achieve in our management of fitness-to-practise cases," he said.

What do you think of the GPhC's fitness-to-practise procedures?

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