Revalidation, introduced in October 2018, is a mandatory process for pharmacists wishing to remain on the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) register. The aim of revalidation is to help pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to keep their professional skills and knowledge up to date and reflect on how they can improve their practice. This ensures that pharmacy professionals are providing patients and the public with safe and effective care.
During the first year of revalidation submissions, pharmacists were required to submit four CPD records. The GPhC required that at least two of these records were ‘planned learning’ activities, with the option for the other two records to be either ‘planned’ or ‘unplanned’ learning. A total of 47,122 pharmacists successfully submitted their four CPD records through the myGPhC portal last year, according to the regulator.
For the second year of revalidation submissions and in all years to come, pharmacists are required to submit four CPD records, as well as one reflective account and one peer discussion. These will need to be submitted by the renewal deadline, as stipulated on your myGPhC account (you can opt-in to receive notifications on your revalidation deadline from your account).
If you are submitting your CPD for the first time, make sure to read C+D’s article on ‘Pharmacy revalidation: what do you need to submit?’
In addition, C+D’s Update Plus learning package includes an example CPD revalidation entry at the end of each ‘planned learning’ module and ‘unplanned learning’ articles, for pharmacists to use as guidance when submitting their own entries.
What are pharmacists confused about?
The GPhC received more than 5,700 calls relating to revalidation in the three months leading up to the first year of submissions. Other than technical queries, questions to the GPhC mainly focused on the overall revalidation requirements. There were also some queries from pharmacists and pharmacy technicians wanting to know how they could apply the requirements to their scope of practice, particularly among those who don’t work directly with patients.
The GPhC has produced a range of example records, set in different fields of practice, to help show pharmacists how to meet the revalidation requirements.
Why is reflection important to your practice?
Reflection allows pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to continually improve the quality of care they give patients. It’s also an opportunity to identify any learning needs or gaps in knowledge. This gives pharmacists and pharmacy teams a chance to improve patient safety in the pharmacy.
So what is a peer discussion?
A peer discussion is an open and honest conversation with someone you trust and respect, which will encourage you to reflect on your learning and practice. A peer should understand your practice and should be able to ask you useful questions to help you reflect and identify areas of improvement.
Who can you have your peer discussion with?
Who you choose as your peer is completely your choice, but it should be someone who understands the aspects of the work you do on a day-to-day basis. It could be, for example, a colleague you currently work with, someone in a similar role or a colleague from another disciplinary team. You can also have your peer discussion with a group of people if you wish.
When completing your CPD submission, you are required to provide the name of your peer (only one name is required if the peer discussion was a group discussion), their role, organisation, and telephone and email address – so it is important your peer agrees to this prior to your discussion. The GPhC will only contact peers to confirm the discussion took place and will not ask for any details of the conversation.
How should the peer discussion be conducted?
A peer discussion can be carried out face-to-face, on the phone or over video call. The GPhC recommends around an hour for a peer discussion, but these can be shorter or longer depending on the topic or if you want to discuss several issues.
You might also find it helpful to prepare before the peer discussion. You could think about CPD you have carried out to date, feedback you have received from patients, incidents in the pharmacy or complaints received – as these may all be topics you can discuss during your peer review.
What should the outcome of the peer discussion be?
For your CPD revalidation submission, you are required to describe how the peer discussion changed your practice for the benefit of the people using your services. This record should include:
- details of why you chose your peer(s)
- details of how the peer discussion has improved your practice
- details of how the discussion has benefited service users – with some examples of this.
However, you don’t need to make notes of, or record, the actual discussion you had with your peer.
So what is a reflective account?
The reflective account is an opportunity for pharmacists to think about how they meet the standards for pharmacy professionals. It may be a way to identify areas that may need to be improved or changed in your practice, says the GPhC.
The regulator has asked pharmacists to consider the following three standards for the first year of reflective account submissions:
- standard 3 – pharmacy professionals must communicate effectively
- standard 6 – pharmacy professionals must behave professionally
- standard 9 – pharmacy professionals must demonstrate leadership.
The GPhC will let pharmacists know at the start of their registrant year which standards they will need to reflect on. You can consider one of the standards, two or all three in one reflective account entry.
You can read C+D's example reflective account entry below.
What should you include in your reflective account?
You should include a brief introduction to your work, including the setting of your practice, your main roles and responsibilities and the typical users of your service. You should then describe briefly how you have met the standards and give real examples from your practice to illustrate this.
How many words should you write?
There are no strict rules about how long revalidation entries should be – as long as submissions consider all of the points required by the GPhC, they can be of any length. The GPhC has said that most entries tend to be around 400 words long – although this varies.
How many revalidation submissions will be reviewed?
The GPhC aims to review a minimum of 2.5% of all revalidation records submitted during a 12-month period. Each month, a sample of registrants will be selected to have their records reviewed, from all the records submitted on time.
It will also review more submissions from groups of registrants who have:
- submitted records late without a good reason
- previously been asked to carry out remedial measures following a submission review
- have a history of poor compliance with pharmacy standards.
How do I know if I have been selected for review?
You will be notified through your myGPhC account if you have been chosen for review, and it may take up to six weeks for you to receive feedback on your submission. If your records are selected for review, and you meet the review criteria, the GPhC will not review your submitted records again for the next two years.
If your revalidation records don’t meet the core criteria, you will be given another opportunity to submit your records, using the feedback provided to improve them.
In this case, your new submission will be reviewed, and you will receive a second set of feedback within 28 days. The submission you make at your next renewal will also be reviewed.
How can you prepare for a peer discussion and reflective account?
The GPhC has encouraged pharmacists to look at its example records of a peer discussion and reflective account, as well as its revalidation framework – where you can find more information on these submissions. It has also included further guidance on peer discussions for pharmacy professionals and for peers on its website.
It’s important that you think about carrying out and recording revalidation throughout the year, rather than waiting until the last minute. In fact, you can complete revalidation activities at any time during your registration year and record these on the myGPhC portal.
- For more information on revalidation, the GPhC website has a range of resources to provide support and help you to complete your submission.
- The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has a guide to revalidation.
- Pharmacist Support also has some useful information available on its website.
Where can I find more CPD learning materials?
C+D's Update Plus has a wide range of learning materials that can be used for your CPD, with examples of unplanned and planned learning entries at the end of each module. A 12-month subscription to the entire Update Plus archive, including new modules added each week, only costs £52+VAT.