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GPhC appoints new chief strategy officer as Mark Voce to step down in July

The Electoral Commission’s Louise Edwards will replace retiring Mark Voce as the GPhC’s chief strategy officer, the regulator has announced.

The General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) chief strategy officer and deputy registrar Mark Voce will leave the regulator in July to take “early retirement”, it announced today (May 14).

Voce will be replaced in these roles by Louise Edwards, who joins the GPhC from the Electoral Commission, it said.

GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin hailed Voce’s “enormous contribution” during his time at the regulator.

Read more: Wegovy online prescription warning - pharmacists threatened by GPhC action

Voce had risen to chief strategy officer from roles as director of education and standards and head of inspection.

Rudkin said that Voce had led the regulator’s transformation of “the education and training of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, both before and after registration”.

He noted Voce’s role in achieving the “once-in-a-lifetime” education reform that will see newly qualified pharmacists joining the register as independent prescribers from 2026.


From one register to another


Edwards joins the GPhC from her role as director of regulation and digital transformation at the Electoral Commission, the GPhC said.

Resplendent with regulatory credentials, she previously held positions at the Charity Commission for England and Wales, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Ofgem and the Home Office, it added.

Edwards said that effective regulation and standards foster “confidence in the quality of care that people receive” and that she was “delighted” to have been appointed to the role.

Read more: GPhC: Just 8% of sexual misconduct allegations referred for FtP hearing

Rudkin said that Edwards will “lead on the development and evaluation of [the GPhC’s] next five-year strategic plan”. 

She will also carry on the “important work” of designing, implementing and developing the regulation that governs pharmacists’ and pharmacy technicians’ education and training, he added.


Regulation business


Last week, the GPhC stressed that the Digital Clinical Excellence (DiCE) UK Forum’s “industry-led” guidelines for online consultations that use assessment questionnaires are not endorsed by the regulator “or any professional body”.

It said at the time that while the GPhC is updating its guidance on “working in online settings” to provide “more clarity”, “the only statutory standards” that healthcare professionals should follow are those produced by the UK’s health regulators or from statutory bodies such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Earlier this month, C+D exclusively revealed that the number of sexual misconduct concerns raised with the GPhC had doubled over just three years, according to information revealed in a freedom of information (FOI) request.

Read more: Covert surveillance: GPhC may abandon ‘never used’ spying powers

Meanwhile, the GPhC last month revealed that it would host a workshop to discuss whether it should keep its rights to surveil pharmacies.

The regulator was granted powers to conduct “covert directed surveillance” such as audio and video recordings under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) in July 2018, but these powers have “never been used”.

And in March the regulator revealed that it had appointed Dr Mat Smith as its new board of assessors’ chair.

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