The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) proposed making inspections “unannounced as a general rule” – a shift from the current policy of giving advance notice of between four and six weeks – in a consultation that closed last week.
In a statement published on Monday (August 13), PSNC director of operations and support Gordon Hockey said: “The proposal to introduce unannounced visits seems unnecessary and may not help to improve safety.
“Far better for pharmacies to be able to plan their staffing around inspections, allowing them to be free to give the inspectors their full attention.”
Managing workloads ahead of inspection
Routine, announced inspections allow pharmacy teams to manage their workloads so that “sufficient time” can be dedicated to “important functions of the inspection process – such as making improvements to patient safety” on the day of inspection, PSNC added in its response to the GPhC's consultation.
While the negotiator “supports the overall intention” to move to an inspection model more similar to the Care Quality Commission's (CQC), “other healthcare professions do get notice of inspections”, and said the GPhC inspection regime should follow the same principles of the CQC model.
PSNC added that in “appropriate circumstances” unannounced visits “could help establish patient confidence in the GPhC”.
According to its guide to inspection preparation, CQC inspections are “always unannounced, unless there is a good reason to let you know that we are coming”.
GPhC “considering all feedback”
In response to PSNC’s concerns, the GPhC told C+D yesterday (August 15) it is “grateful to everyone who responded” to the consultation and is “now carefully considering all the feedback”.
“We will be publishing a report on this to [the] council in due course,” it added.