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GPhC moots routinely publishing FtP diversity data in draft strategy

The GPhC is also proposing to develop “equality guidance” for pharmacy employers
The GPhC is also proposing to develop “equality guidance” for pharmacy employers

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has proposed regularly publishing fitness to practise diversity data to help it make bias-free regulatory decisions.

In its draft equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy – published in its council papers ahead of a meeting on Thursday (March 11) – the regulator presented its EDI strategy ambitions for the next five years.

Among other areas of EDI work put forward by the GPhC, the regulator said it wants to “make regulatory decisions that are demonstrably fair, lawful, and so free from discrimination and bias”.

To achieve this, it suggested being more transparent by “routinely” publishing diversity datasets, “including diversity data related to fitness-to-practise cases”.

The diversity data will also be used to “identify any disproportionate impacts on different groups” so the regulator can “understand and address potentially discriminatory outcomes,” the GPhC added.

If the draft strategy is approved this week, the GPhC will launch a 12-week consultation to gather feedback on it from pharmacy stakeholders and the public.

“Redress imbalances”

Working to make its regulatory decision-making process fairer will help the GPhC better understand “shared characteristics most adversely impacted by our policies, procedures and practices”, so it can “redress these imbalances in a way that is proportionate and fair”, it said.

Regularly reporting on diversity data would also boost stakeholders’ confidence “about the transparency and fairness of our decisions”, the GPhC added.

The GPhC will also work to “proactively help tackle discrimination in all pharmacy settings” by, for instance, developing an “equality guidance” for employers and making EDI a “core part” of pharmacy education and training.

According to data obtained by C+D last year (November 11), pharmacy professionals from ethnic minority backgrounds continue to be over-represented in fitness-to-practise reports. Almost two-thirds (59%) of the concerns raised against pharmacists were against black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) professionals, who together made up 48% – 28,659 of 59,373 – pharmacists on the GPhC register during April 1 2019 to March 31 2020 financial year.  

The GPhC sought to understand how to better manage concerns raised against pharmacy professionals through a consultation it launched in October last year. As part of this work, the regulator was seeking to understand “why it receives a higher number of concerns about BAME professionals than should be expected”.

C+D ran a survey on racism in pharmacy last year from June 18 to July 27, which gathered responses from 886 pharmacy professionals. It revealed that 56% of BAME pharmacy workers had suffered racial abuse from a colleague in the previous six months, while 51% had left or had considered leaving their job due to racial discrimination.

What do you make of this proposal?


Caroline Jones, Locum pharmacist

In addition to this I would like to see where these pharmacists were trained and qualified as I think a certain pattern would develop regarding ethics and integrity training and testing amongst the Schools of Pharmacy which needs to be robustly challenged. Also ethics and professionalism should be more strongly probed as part of the pre-reg examination and the foreign conversion examination, ideally with a face to face interview, with persistent failure in this section an automatic bar to entry onto the register. This would include cultural attitudes to women, sexuality, other religions,contracepton, FGM, drug and alcohol addicts, spousal abuse etc.

john smith, Marketing

By ''these pharmacists'', you mean your fellow colleagues? Or are you assuming all BAME pharmacists qualified overseas, or do you mean BAME pharmacists who studied in the UK are ethically better as compared to those who studied overseas?

The GPhC themselves have admitted that BAME pharmacists are disproportionately represented in FtP cases, and they have openly admitted that they do not know why this is the case. 

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