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GPhC seeks views on draft standards for chief pharmacists


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Patients, carers, and members of the public are encouraged to share what they think about the new draft standards

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has developed new draft Standards for Chief Pharmacists to strengthen pharmacy governance.

It has set out the professional responsibilities as well as described the knowledge, conduct, and performance required by a chief pharmacist (or equivalent) to support their organisation and its staff to deliver “safe and effective” pharmacy services.

The pharmacy regulator has also launched a consultation to find out what patients, carers, and members of the public think about the new draft standards.

Participants can share their views “if there are any settings in which the standards could not be applied or met and any positive or negative impacts of the proposals,” it said.

The survey will open for 12 weeks, from 23 January to 16 April 2024.

GPhC Chief Executive Duncan Rudkin commented: “Our draft Standards for chief pharmacists will complement our existing standards for all pharmacy professionals, strengthening assurance around these critical roles and empowering pharmacy professionals at a time of great challenge and opportunity for the professions.

“We are committed to listening carefully to all views expressed to make sure that the standards reflect the views and needs of patients and the public, health professionals, the NHS and the wider health sector.”

These draft standards were developed following new legislation which “removes the threat of criminal penalties for accidental or unintentional preparation and dispensing errors by pharmacy staff working in hospitals and similar settings,” the council clarified.

It emphasised that protection from prosecution helps to promote an “open and learning culture” which is vital for patient safety.

These rules already apply to pharmacy staff working in registered pharmacies (community pharmacies).

Further, it elaborated that to benefit from the new rules, a hospital (or relevant setting) must have a Chief Pharmacist (or equivalent) in post, who must be a registered pharmacist with the appropriate skills, training, and experience; and they must meet the Standards for Chief Pharmacists.

This is part of a wider programme, which aims to provide clarity around how pharmacies are organised and managed to ensure that patients and the public continue to receive safe and effective pharmacy care, the council added.

In the future, the regulator plans to develop and organise consultations on rules and professional standards for responsible pharmacists, and professional standards for superintendent pharmacists.



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