The characteristics of the programme are currently under review and the GPhC is unable to share more “specific information on the timelines for [its] introduction”, a spokesperson told C+D last week (May 21).
The GPhC’s “main focus” is currently on re-inspecting pharmacies – which it started doing last month – that had previously failed to meet some of its standards and on inspecting pharmacies that have recently joined its register, it said on its website.
This is the reason why any changes to the GPhC’s inspection programme will come into effect later this year, the spokesperson told C+D.
New programme will build on 2019 approach
The GPhC spokesperson said the new risk-based inspection approach “will build on our current approach, which we implemented in April 2019 after a public consultation”.
Under the 2019 approach, the regulator introduced intelligence-led inspections – which it continued to undertake during the pandemic – and “incorporated indicators of risk into our routine inspection programme”, the spokesperson said.
“This meant that we first inspected pharmacies previously rated as ‘poor’, followed by those rated as ‘satisfactory with an action plan’,” the spokesperson added.
The GPhC also launched its inspections website in September 2019, making inspection reports and outcomes available for the public to view for the first time.
All routine inspections were paused from March 17 last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The regulator moved to a “supportive phase”, as part of which it offered advice to pharmacies on the “arrangements and plans” they introduced in response to the pandemic.