In a joint statement signed by the GPhC and eight other health regulators – including the General Medical Council (GMC) and the Pharmaceutical Society Northern Ireland (PSNI) – the regulators outline what they "expect health and social care professionals" to do in order to "avoid, declare and manage conflicts of interest".
"Conflicts can arise in situations where someone’s judgement may be influenced – or perceived to be influenced – by a personal, financial or other interest," the regulators said in the statement, published yesterday (August 8).
As well as refusing "gifts, favours or hospitality if accepting them could be interpreted as an attempt to gain preferential treatment", the regulators urge health professionals to: "put the interest of people in their care before their own"; "maintain appropriate personal and professional boundaries"; and "ensure their professional judgement is not compromised by personal, financial or commercial interests, incentives or similar measures".
The joint statement will be promoted to "registrants, students and to the public, to ensure they all know what we expect", the regulators added.
Alongside the statement, the regulators published case studies illustrating how health professionals should deal with situations where a conflict of interest might arise.
A joint case study from the GPhC, GMC, and the PSNI on the GPhC’s website outlines a scenario where a GP is conflicted over prescription direction (see below).
Issues affecting patient care
Commenting on the joint statement, GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said: "As health and care regulators, we share a commitment to collaborating on issues that affect patient safety and care."
The statement aims to "help give patients and the public the assurance that their interest will always be put above any other interest a health professional may have", he added.
A GPhC spokesperson told C+D that the "collaborative effort…[is] in recognition of the increasing move toward multi-disciplinary teams in health and care".
"The statement is intended to support – not supersede – our existing standards for pharmacy professionals," the spokesperson added.