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GPhC to start work on responsible and chief pharmacist standards in December

The GPhC and PSNI will take on powers later this year that will let them decide what responsible pharmacist (RP), superintendent pharmacist (SP), and chief pharmacist roles will look like in the future. 

The legislative changes giving regulators, rather than ministers, the powers to clarify these roles have been published following Privy Council approval, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) announced today (October 25).

The Department of Health and Social Care (DH) published its formal response to a 2018 consultation that sought views around dispensing errors, patient safety and governance arrangements in registered pharmacies in April.

Read more: GPhC should decide when responsible pharmacists can oversee multiple sites, DH concludes

Among the raft of proposals set before parliament, the DH programme board suggested giving the GPhC and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) the “power to specify an exception” to the “general rule that a pharmacist can only be the RP for one pharmacy at the same time”.

“These orders will enable the GPhC and PSNI to take forward important work to strengthen pharmacy governance,” the regulator wrote.

It will implement “new standards” for these groups, to “complement [its] existing standards for all pharmacy professionals”, it added.


Next steps


Once the GPhC assumes its new powers on December 1, it will attempt to gauge what patients, health professionals and the NHS expects of RP, SP and chief pharmacist roles, it said.

“We are committed to listening carefully to all views expressed and considering what approach would best support safe and effective pharmacy care,” the regulator stated.

Following that, it will draft rules and professional standards and launch “full public consultations to make sure [they] reflect the views and needs” of stakeholders.

Read more: Responsible pharmacist proposals fail to heed workforce issues, Lords say

The GPhC will share further details on how it intends to develop the rules and standards after December 1, it wrote.

In June, House of Lords members argued that the now approved draft order failed to take into consideration the workforce issues experienced by the sector.

Meanwhile, solicitor Susan Hunneyball warned that the DH’s planned changes to the role of the SP could have a “significant effect” on the structure of pharmacies.


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