The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has set out plans to gather data on patient experience and consider hotlines for whistleblowers in its response to the Francis report.
The GPhC said it would put systems in place to take "quick and appropriate action" when a pharmacy professional failed to meet standards. Its plans are in response to the report into the failings of the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which found certain regulators were taking too long to close cases.
The GPhC's plans could involve third parties looking at the advice, care and services given by pharmacies to patients, the regulator said in its council meeting last week (April 11), although it did not give any more details on what the work would include or which third parties would be involved.
The GPhC set out plans to gather data on patient experience, speed up fitness-to-practise cases and explore establishing hotlines for whistleblowers
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The GPhC pledged to work with the government to ensure pharmacy professionals were "open and honest" with patients and said patient feedback would also become more important in risk assessments of pharmacies.
"We are committed to working constructively with the professional bodies, fellow health regulators and others to take forward relevant recommendations identified in the Francis report itself and the government's initial response, including considering what more can be done to encourage and support health professionals to be open and honest with patients," said GPhC chair Bob Nicholls.
The GPhC also acknowledged more needed to be done to help employees to raise their concerns and said it would look at barriers to whistleblowing. It suggested following in the footsteps of the General Medical Council and the Care Quality Commission by introducing hotlines in an effort to tackle the problem.
Mr Nicholls said GPhC procedures could speed up after the review of legislation governing health regulators, which the government will consult on until the end of May.
The GPhC named transparency, candour, whistleblowing and professionalism as key areas to learn from the Francis report. The report's findings would help shape future policies and regulation, the GPhC added, and would contribute to the update of its strategic plan in June.
What do you make of the GPhC's plans?