General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has met 20 out of 24 Standards of Good Regulation in 2018-19, according to Professional Standards Authority (PSA) performance review.
The annual review, published today, found the council meeting all standards of guidance and standards, education and training, and registration functions.
The PSA identified four out of ten of the fitness to practice standards not met and expressed concerns relate to:
- the transparency and fairness of some of the fitness to practise processes being followed
- the timeliness of the investigations being conducted
- the customer service provided to parties involved in fitness to practise cases
- the quality of record-keeping
- the decision-making at the initial stages of the fitness to practise process.
However, PSA said it recognises the GPhC’s commitment to implement measures to improve the areas where the concerns were identified and found that some of the improvement work has already begun.
In response to the review, GPhC published an action plan setting out the improvements the council is making in the fitness to practice procedures.
“We are committed to using this feedback from the PSA to reflect, learn and work together so that we take forward the changes and improvements needed,” said GPhC Chief Executive Duncan Rudkin.
“We agree with the PSA’s assessment that we need to make improvements in some areas of our Fitness to Practise processes. We have put in place an action plan to make sure that these improvements are taken forward as a priority and embedded over the longer term. We will regularly review our progress against the action plan and report on this to our Council.”
The key actions being taken include:
- updating internal guidance on triaging cases, including the approach to issuing undertakings or warnings to pharmacy professionals, and making sure that guidance is consistently followed
- an ongoing programme of training and development of staff to help improve timeliness of fitness to practise cases and communications with complainants and pharmacy professionals
- introducing peer review and quality assurance of decisions to take no further action at triage.
“We will also shortly begin a consultation on our Fitness to Practise strategy, which will provide an opportunity for a fundamental review of our approach to fitness to practise and how it needs to change to make it as proportionate, person-centred and effective as possible. We want to hear from as many individuals and organisations as possible through that consultation,” Rudkin added.