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GPhC appoints new FtP and pharmacy inspections executive leads

The pharmacy regulator has appointed two new executive-level members of staff to lead as its chief pharmacy officer and chief enforcement officer, it has revealed.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) yesterday (October 26) announced that it was “delighted” to welcome Roz Gittins and Dionne Spence as its new chief pharmacy officer and chief enforcement officer respectively from January 3.

It said that the new executive-level chief officer roles will “form the new executive structure of the GPhC” alongside existing staff members Mark Voce in his new role as chief strategy officer and Jonathan Bennetts as chief operating officer. 

All four executive officers will also serve as deputy registrars, it added.

 

Pharmacy inspections

 

As chief pharmacy officer - the “most senior member of the profession within the GPhC executive” - Ms Gittins will “provide provide pharmacy leadership across the GPhC”, the regulator said.

This will include “acting as the executive lead on pharmacy inspection and regulatory insight” and “providing cross-cutting professional leadership within the GPhC”, it added.

Read more: GPhC may look at overprescribing risk from IP contractors ‘in future’

It will also mean representing the GPhC “authoritatively on professional issues in public, with the pharmacy professions and…in multi-disciplinary teams and multi-disciplinary collaborative regulatory work,” the GPhC said.

Ms Gittins, who has worked in senior leadership roles in the third sector for several years and is the president of the international College of Mental Health Pharmacy, said that she hoped the new role will offer “a unique opportunity to influence progress at an exciting and challenging time for the pharmacy professions”.

Read more: GPhC: Non-white pharmacists ‘over-represented’ in FtP concerns

“As a [GPhC registered pharmacist], I know how important it is for our regulator to connect more effectively with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians,” she added.

Most recently, Ms Gittins served as director of care standards and practice improvement at UK charity Via and she has previously worked in NHS mental health and acute secondary care.

 

Fitness-to-Practise

 

Meanwhile, Ms Spence will have “oversight” of all the regulator’s “enforcement action" and will be responsible for “overseeing and enhancing” its Fitness-to-Practise (FtP) processes, the GPhC said.

This will include “promoting a consistent strategic and cultural approach to FtP and pharmacy enforcement” and “overseeing enforcement action against education providers as required”, it added.

Read more: Locum warned after dispensing error in ‘staffing crisis’ leads to patient death

Ms Spence said she is “delighted” to be joining the GPhC - her second healthcare regulator - in the new year in this “new and exciting role” at a “critical time” for the pharmacy professions.

“Coming in at the inception of this innovative approach to leadership, with a team so committed to streamlining our regulatory functions and improving the service provided to all users, is incredibly exciting and will provide great benefit to the sector,” she added. 

Read more: Health secretary alerted as GPhC fails FtP standard for fifth consecutive year

With more than 20 years’ experience of leading “diverse multi-disciplinary teams”, Ms Spence was most recently director of regulatory operations for the General Optical Council (GOC), “playing a pivotal role in the GOC meeting all 18 Standards of Good Regulation for the first time in over ten years”, the GPhC said. 

She previously held senior leadership positions across the financial and criminal justice sectors and is a “passionate advocate for equality and inclusion”, it added.

 

New leadership structure

 

GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin wished both Ms Gittins and Ms Spence a “very warm welcome”.

“Both roles are critical in making sure that our organisational structure supports stronger engagement with the pharmacy professions and effective delivery of our regulatory services,” he said.

Read more: GPhC: Almost all whistleblowing cases last year linked to community pharmacy

The appointments form part of a change in the GPhC’s leadership, with the four existing director roles replaced by the four new chief officer roles that will constitute the new GPhC executive, the regulator said.

It comes as the GPhC has said that regulating overprescribing risks is a “developing area”, amid concerns about IP contractor conflicts of interest at this year’s Pharmacy Show.

 

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