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GPhC considers annual monitoring of all pharmacy education providers

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The regulator proposes four key changes to the quality assurance of pharmacy education

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has launched a consultation on changes to the quality assurance processes of pharmacy education and training.

In its consultation published on 4 April 2024, the pharmacy regulator has proposed four key changes to the procedures, including annual monitoring of all pharmacy education providers, including pharmacy schools offering MPharm courses.

The annual audit will enable the GPhC “to identify and address concerns together with providers in a more timely, proportionate and systematic manner”.

It is considering collecting yearly data, including feedback from students, trainees, supervisors and patients, from educational organisations.

The GPhC has also proposed defining clear lines of responsibility and criteria for determining whether to re-approve a course or qualification.

Other suggestions put forth include increasing flexibility for approval and intervention, alongside implementing uniform arrangements for all providers to achieve greater scrutiny.

The consultation states: “We propose to apply to private providers and pharmacist independent prescribing providers the same arrangements that apply to national awarding organisations and MPharm providers.

“In effect, this will result not only in greater scrutiny but in a consistent quality assurance approach overall.”

Mark Voce, chief strategy officer and deputy registrar at the GPhC, said: “Pharmacy education and training sets a foundation for the knowledge, skills, understanding and professional behaviours a pharmacy student must demonstrate in order to become fully qualified and join the professional register.

“As such it is vital that we check that training providers are meeting our standards through a quality assurance process. By doing this we are ensuring trainees are getting the right level of education to become competent practitioners of the future.”

He added that the proposed changes will help them “identify issues more effectively, act more quickly if necessary and be fairer to all providers.”

The QA process also ensures that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians joining the register are “skilled and knowledgeable, and that they demonstrate appropriate professional behaviours.”

Individuals and organisations with an interest in pharmacy education are being encouraged to take part in the consultation, which closes on 13 June 2024.

Depending on the outcome of the consultation, the regulator plans to implement these changes in stages over the coming years.

 

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