The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) handled 681 concerns between April and June 2018, 14 more than in the three months to March 2018, and a 47% increase compared with the 462 reported in the same period the previous year, the regulator said.
The total number of cases under investigation at any one time has also increased, by 21%, “which demonstrates an increase in productivity”, the GPhC said.
Ethnic minorities over-represented in concerns
The GPhC also analysed the ethnicity of pharmacists who enter fitness-to-practise proceedings, to find out “whether there is over representation relating to ethnicity of pharmacist registrants...in [the] context of our total population”.
This is part of the regulator’s research to “analyse how effective our fitness-to-practise process is at eliminating discrimination”.
Pharmacists identifying themselves as “Asian – other” were the most over-represented in fitness-to-practise concerns in 2017, meaning there was a greater percentage of fitness-to-practise concerns in this ethnic group “relative to the total number of registrants”.
“Asian – other” pharmacists constitute 3.2% of the register, but the percentage of concerns raised against them was 77% higher, at 5.6%, the GPhC said.
Black African pharmacists represent 5.6% of the register but had 8.2% of concerns made against them, while Pakistani pharmacists form 8.2% of the register and received 12.1% of concerns.
Men had more concerns raised against them than women – 717 compared with 393, or 65% of the total – despite only constituting 39% of the register.
The GPhC said its analysis of the data of 57,226 pharmacists was “challenging owing to the very small dataset”, and warned of “its potential to mislead”.
As part of its research, from this month, the GPhC will review data it has collected of fitness-to-practice cases, and report on any recommendations for improvements in December 2019.