The PDA has taken issue with a line in the standards – due to come into effect “later this year” – which state that they “need to be met [by pharmacists] at all times, not only during working hours”.
The initial hearing will take place on March 23, the GPhC revealed this afternoon (March 13), when a judge will decide whether to move to a full hearing. “If permission to proceed is granted, the court will move immediately onto the substantive hearing that day,” the GPhC said.
The PDA first expressed its concern with the standards in July 2016, when it branded them “Orwellian”.
At the time, the PDA recommended that the assumption that the new standards “apply at all times and not only during working hours” would “need to be revisited”.
“The expectations outside of a working environment must be different to those within it,” the PDA said in its response to a consultation on the standards.
“It is recognised, however, that it will still be necessary for fitness-to-practise committees to consider certain actions taken outside of a working environment,” it said at the time.
Commenting on the hearing, GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said it is “right that [the standards] can be scrutinised and challenged before they come into effect”.
“The judicial review of the standards relates to an important point of principle within health professional regulation. We are ready to respond to the review and explain why pharmacy professionals should be expected to meet the standards at all times.”
C+D has contacted the PDA for comment.