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GPhC reveals plans for continual assessment

Professional Pharmacists’ competence will be continually reviewed from 2018, through peer and CPD reviews and the use of performance indicators, the regulator has said

Pharmacists and technicians will undergo revalidation from 2018, which will involve an ongoing review of their fitness to practise, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has announced.

The GPhC set out its proposals for revalidation, which it is now calling ‘continuing fitness to practise', at its council meeting last week (November 14). The checks on pharmacists and technicians will involve a peer review, a CPD review and the use of performance indicators, it said, but did not indicate how often the checks would take place.  

But the regulator stressed that the model was not yet concrete and committed to working with pharmacy professionals and the public to ensure the process was "flexible and straightforward".

The GPhC committed to working with pharmacy professionals and the public to ensure the revalidation process was "flexible and straightforward"

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Under the plans, pharmacists and technicians will undergo peer reviews of their work run by GPhC-accredited organisations. The GPhC said it would aim to build on existing reviews such as appraisals but stressed these were likely to need modifying to "deal with professional issues" and "engage directly" with standards.

The regulator also set out plans to revamp the CPD process to put a greater onus on quality. More than 99 per cent of registrants complied with the current review process, it said, demonstrating that registrants "clearly engaged" with CPD.

But the GPhC said its impact on practice was not clear and pledged to review the model. This could involve sampling CPD rather than calling for everyone's records, it said, which could prove cheaper and more proportionate.

Performance measures would make up the third element of the continuing fitness to practise checks, the GPhC said. The regulator did not clarify what these measures would be, but said they would "vary according to the scope of a registrant's practice" and be developed in consultation with the profession.

The GPhC first set out its plans for revalidation last January. The work reflected the Department of Health's agenda to ensure healthcare professionals remained competent after registration, the GPhC said at the time.

Revalidation for doctors was introduced in December. But the GPhC said it would avoid using the term revalidation, instead using ‘continuing fitness to practise' to highlight that it would be an ongoing process.

The GPhC expects to develop a full model for the checks by September next year, followed by three years of testing, consultation and evaluation before implemention in 2018.

"This new framework will look at both the competence and professionalism of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians," said GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin.

"Over time, it will strengthen our assurance to patients and the public that the pharmacy professionals they seek advice and care from are up to date and fit to practise."

Will the GPhC's plans raise standards of care in pharmacy?

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What do you think?

Amal England, Public Relations

"More than 99 per cent of registrants complied with the current review process, it said, demonstrating that registrants "clearly engaged" with CPD"....... the only option was to engage or face bring struck of. And then to say that CPD submission will in future be based on a sample because it is cheaper.......GPhC is clearly engaged.

Calum Nelson, Locum pharmacist

I wonder how it'll all work for locums. For example, how can peer review be arranged when you work with a different set of people every day? Also, I doubt it will assure the public as no-one pays any attention to pharmacy. More than once I have had to explain to people that you actually have to go to university to become a pharmacist.

John Randell, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

This type of assesment would have to involve some context...a pharmacvist working in industry,acadmia or community are very different settings...


if you work for 50+ hours a week in a dispensing factory that does 1000 ITEMS/DAY you may simply not have the enegy to meet all these requirements.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I'm interested in learning about what these performance markers will be. I'm not sure about the claim about assuring patients, I think on the whole the majority are unaware of the continuous improvements both technicians and pharmacists conduct. However there will be very clear benefit in the quality of service we provide.


No offence mate but I think you talking [email protected]@ks

There's v little opportunity to use our knowledge as so much time is spent chasing late prescriptions and out of stock drugs.

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

interesting to see what the final process will be like?

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