The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) “must use its powers to hold pharmacy owners and superintendents to account”, the PDA said in its response to a GPhC consultation on guidance “to ensure a safe and effective pharmacy team”.
This should include introducing a “test for superintendent pharmacists, pharmacy owners and those in positions of responsibility in pharmacy – such as senior managers – to assess whether or not they are – and remain – fit and proper persons to hold their positions of responsibility”, the PDA suggested.
The GPhC should also create a “register” to help “facilitate” the testing of these roles, the PDA said in its response, published yesterday (October 19).
“The best way to protect patients is to underpin the professionalism of the pharmacist,” the PDA added.
Background to the GPhC consultation
The GPhC's consultation – which it launched in July – was prompted by a range of work over the last five years, including a series of online workshops on “what quality means in pharmacy practice”, and feedback from its consultations on professional and educational standards, the regulator told C+D at the time.
It is the first time the GPhC has set out in proposed guidance what pharmacy owners should do to ensure non-registrant managers understand their responsibilities and the responsibilities of the wider pharmacy team, the GPhC added.
"Chaotic" approach to staff training
As part of its consultation, the GPhC also proposed that accountability for the training of both registered and unregistered staff should sit with pharmacy owners, rather than itself.
If the guidance is approved, the GPhC will cease to accredit dispensing and medicines counter assistant courses. Instead, pharmacy owners will become responsible for selecting appropriate training for their staff, it explained.
However, the PDA stressed “the GPhC must continue to set the training requirements” for pharmacy staff, to avoid a “chaotic and inconsistent approach throughout Great Britain as to the quality of training”.
“In our view, the proposals will mean that there will be no defined, common pharmacy roles other than ‘pharmacist’ and ‘pharmacy technician’,” the PDA said in its consultation response.
“It also means that ‘pharmacy technician’ will become the least-qualified role which is nationally recognised in pharmacy. Such a change in the pharmacy workforce would need a much wider discussion on the roles of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy support staff,” it added.
The GPhC told C+D this morning that it is reviewing all of the responses it has received since the consultation closed on October 11. The regulator's council will discuss the details and make its decisions in due course, it added.
Read the GPhC’s Consultation on guidance to ensure a safe and effective pharmacy team in full here.
Read the PDA’s response to this consultation here.