The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has met 15 out of 18 Standards of Good Regulation in 2020-21, according to the annual performance review conducted by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA)
The PSA reviewed the council’s performance during March 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021, and found that the GPhC responded and adapted well to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report noted that it frequently published information for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians as well as for members of the public.
The GPhC met all the standards of general standards, guidance and standards, education and training and registration.
However, it could not meet three out of five standards within the Fitness to Practice category.
The PSA report acknowledged that the council had taken efforts to address the previous concerns raised in the 2019-20 performance review, and that improvements had been made.
It also recognised that the pandemic delayed the action plan put in place by the GPhC and had adversely affected how quickly concerns were progressed.
Commenting on the review, GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said: “It is a key priority for us to make improvements in our fitness to practise processes, first and foremost to meet the concerns of the public and patients, to ensure fairness to registrants, and to meet the Standards of the PSA.
“As the 2020/21 performance report highlights, some of the improvement work we had planned during this performance review period started later than anticipated because we needed to respond quickly and effectively to the challenges and pressures of the pandemic.
The Council received high numbers of concerns during the pandemic, but could not progress investigations quickly and had to switch to remote hearings, Rudkin said.
He added that the council took forward work to finalise and implement its strategy on changing the way to manage concerns about pharmacy professionals.
Rudkin said that implementing this change remains a priority area for the GPhC to be able to take swift action and protect patients, along with promoting a learning culture that would allow pharmacy professionals “to deal with any concerns and go back to practising in appropriate circumstances.”
“We are pleased that the performance report recognises the progress made in the particular circumstances of the pandemic. The report also recognises that while we had to re-prioritise and adapt our plans, we have managed to complete almost all of the planned improvement actions.
“As highlighted in the report, it will take time to see evidence of the impact of some of these changes.
“We expect the PSA will see further improvements when they review our performance for 2021/22.”