The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has launched a consultation on whether people agree or disagree that its hearings should continue to be held remotely when it is fair and practical to do so.
The 12-week consultation — which ends on February 8 — seeks views on a proposed permanent change to the GPhC’s procedural rules which will allow it to conduct hearings and meetings by teleconference or videolink.
The pharmacy regulator is seeking changes to enable it to continue to hold some hearings remotely in the future following positive feedback from those taking part in hearings during the Covid-19 pandemic which the GPhC held remotely by videolink.
“In cases where the GPhC investigates a concern about a pharmacist or pharmacy technician and decides there is evidence to show that their fitness to practise may be impaired, the case may need to be referred for a hearing before a committee,” GPhC said in a statement today (November 16).
GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said: “The success of remote hearings during the Covid-19 lockdown periods has demonstrated to us that remote hearings should also be an option beyond the pandemic.
“At this stage we are open-minded about the extent to which remote hearings may be used and it is important to us to ensure that any changes to our legal framework are compatible with our core values of equality, diversity and inclusion. We welcome views to help inform our next steps and guide our long-term approach to remote hearings.”
The consultation is seeking views on the positive and negative impacts of continuing to hold some hearings remotely on patients and the public, pharmacy professionals and individuals or groups sharing protected characteristics.
Views are also being sought on the advantages and disadvantages of holding remote hearings and on any circumstances when a hearing should not be held remotely.