Under the long-mooted proposals, pharmacists could be regulated alongside other "high street" healthcare professionals – including dentists, optometrists and chiropractors.
In a report published last October – itself a response to a Department of Health (DH) public consultation launched in 2015 – regulator watchdog the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) recommended for a move to a “shared register” for professionals working in health and care.
The PSA said it believes a single register for "high street commercial premises", such as dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, osteopaths, and chiropractors, would “support multidisciplinary working, individual and collective accountability, and team-based regulation”.
GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin told C+D today (February 10) the regulator has been “engaging constructively” with the UK government, the devolved administrations, the PSA and the other regulators over discussions on the future of health professional regulation.
"We are waiting to see the government’s full proposals in their upcoming consultation, and will continue to contribute to the debate and to share our vision of what regulation can and should achieve for patients and the public," he added.
The PSA also recommended the adoption of a “shared approach” to fitness-to-practise cases, including the key elements of "investigation, prosecution and adjudication".
It also suggested that a single assurance body, holding a “shared public-facing register” of all health professionals, should be established.
The GPhC did not respond to C+D's question as to how this might affect pharmacists' fitness-to-practise proceedings.
Regulator "focused on pharmacy"
Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) chief executive Helen Gordon said the society "values having a regulator that is focussed on pharmacy, given the breadth of issues being worked on and the importance of development of the pharmacy profession”.
The DH declined to comment when approached by C+D.