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GPhC handles record number of fitness-to-practise ‘concerns’

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The GPhC also called for “further opportunity to look at the purpose of fitness-to-practise” cases

The number of fitness-to-practise “concerns” reported to the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has exceeded an average of 200 per month for the first time.

The GPhC handled 602 concerns between October and December 2017, an increase of 31% compared with the 458 reported in the same period the previous year, according to a report published for its council meeting last month (February 8).

Handling concerns is the first step in a potential fitness-to-practise case, and involves the GPhC deciding whether it will carry out further inquiries into a concern or close the case. The “majority” of cases are closed during the early stages of the fitness-to-practise process, the regulator stressed.

Despite the “significant increase” in the number of concerns received, the number of open fitness-to-practise cases fell by 14 – to 753 – between July-September and October-December, the GPhC highlighted.

“This is because we have continued to work hard to close cases at the appropriate point in the fitness-to-practise process,” it explained.

In an exclusive interview with C+D last month, GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said an analysis of the “general upward trend” in the number of concerns reported had not revealed a “particular issue” driving them.

The cause of the trend “could be” because “there's been a lot of coverage of different sorts of pharmacy issues – pharmacy is becoming more visible to the public”, Mr Rudkin suggested.

Mr Rudkin said the GPhC is “increasingly seeking to analyse” its fitness-to-practise case data, so it can get better at identifying trends and areas of concern.

Reforming fitness-to-practise procedures

In its council papers, the GPhC also called for “further opportunity to look at the purpose of fitness-to-practise” cases.

“Fitness-to-practise can feel like an adversarial process, invariably causing anxiety and fear for those involved,” it said. “Instead of focusing on the needs of patients, professionals are concerned about ‘what the regulator will say or do’.”

“Fitness-to-practise processes should be focused on the most serious types of concerns…not just the mechanisms for dealing with concerns,” it continued.

“We can then use our other regulatory levers, such as revalidation, inspection and registration, to support and promote professionalism with the aim of improving the quality and safety of the care that people receive.”

Why do you think there are more fitness-to-practise concerns reported?

Graham Pharmacist, Senior Management

Read this my friends:

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

... just had a look at the GPhC’s web site on FTP committee hearings, I am surprised. There are a couple of items that I didn’t expect, eg one pharmacist was jailed for terrorism offences, and a few sexual harassment cases ... what is this world coming to?

Meera Sharma, Community pharmacist

"Despite the “significant increase” in the number of concerns received," - what type of concerns were these?? Since you are safeguarding the public - what concerns were reported?? You can't make statements like these and not be able to back it up with stats - this just sounds like headline grabbing.

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

The Sun newspaper has headlines with more gravitas.

Mohammed Patel, Community pharmacist

Absolutely bang on. I would love to hear about how they are safeguarding the public. Safeguarding their own interests, more likely. Cowards who won't go after the bully-boys despite being paid to regulate the industry. And given some of the most expensive offices in the UK which us mugs are paying for. Disgraceful behaviour. Can we send the GPhC to FtP for bringing the profession into disrepute?

Pharmacists should consider big chains, the GPhC and the C&D as a single entity because that is how it appears to anybody with more inteligence than a wet sock.

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

I wonder how the GPhC are investigating this incident. Waldron and his tema seem to be unaware of this so I've kindly provided the link.

Mohammed Patel, Community pharmacist

If the C&D staff are not aware of such a high profile case, they are either incompetent or being paid by somebody to ignore it. Either way they need to replaced.

I suspect that they are told what to write by the bully-boys with all of our hard earned cash.

Maybe if every pharmacist just refused to pay their fees, then we could democratically select some experienced, honest and decent people to regulate OUR industry. And they would almost certainly not want offices in Canary Wharf.

Maybe then I could recommend my children to study pharmacy at University. How it stands right now, studying pharmacy is a sure fire way to end up living under a bridge in a sleeping bag.

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

The silence of the editor is telling. Might be difficult to take any of his future editorials seriously.

Graham Pharmacist, Senior Management

The editor is not a pharmacist. He's a journalist. Probably got powerful people left right and centre telling him what to write on this website.

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

Given that GPhC also inspects and regulates pharmacy premises, out of interest, how many pharmacies have been investigated due to forcing registrants to suffer poor/unsafe working conditions or threatening registrants with internal disciplinary action/cancellation of future bookings for failure to hit commercial targets? #AnswersOnAPostCard

Mohammed Patel, Community pharmacist

The GPhC need to undergo a paradigm shift in the way they regulate, or the industry is going to go into meltdown. The root of the problem is the behaviour of the multiple-mafia and their senior staff. It is far less intimidating for the GPhC to go for the small guy who can't afford an all-star team of lawyers - guaranteed win for them.

The GPhC are not solving anything. And you know what they say, if you're not part of the solution then YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM!

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

... the registration fee going up to cover the extra costs?

Rubicon Mango, Academic pharmacist

Due to patient complaints. Sad state of affairs when someone feels the need to ruin another mans living. I doubt most of them are really concerns.

Mohammed Patel, Community pharmacist

Would being suspended/removed from the register from such a toxic, corrupted and cancerous profession really be that bad? It might be the kick up the backside someone needs to find a job that they actually enjoy.

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

There are more FtP concerns because patients no longer want things dealt with internally - they will report you to the GPhC over a trivial issue which should be dealt with by a straightforward complaint but instead go for the "nuclear" option

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Great for the GPhC as it justifies their existence and over the top unwarranted offices 

Mohammed Patel, Community pharmacist

Which we are all paying for. When using someone else's money, surely you would be considerate and go for something modest? Not the GPhC - go for the most expensive because someone else is paying!

They obviously think they deserve it, but seeing as how they cower from the real problems, I would beg to differ.

Google, Apple or Microsoft I could understand. But not the GPhC.

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

It's a shame these 'regulation levers' are not used where it's really needed in a number of multiples.

Mohammed Patel, Community pharmacist

Boom! What is the apparent connection between Boots, the GPhC, and the C&D? There's obviously something going on.

Answers on a postcard please, on or about the next Tuesday (see yous).

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