GPhC proposes making inspection reports public

The publication of pharmacy inspection reports is the “most significant change” in plans to modernise the regulation of registered pharmacies, the General Pharmaceutical Council has said. New inspection ratings and a move to unannounced inspections are among the GPhC’s other proposals.

The proposals have been put forward in a draft consultation paper following the GPhC’s April meeting, with a consultation expected to launch before summer.

The GPhC proposes to begin publishing reports “once we have the legal powers to do so and appropriate systems and processes are in place”, and has begun work to develop a website where reports can be viewed. The website will also showcase examples of notable practice – both good practice and cases where standards are not being met.

The publication of reports is described as the “most significant change” in the GPhC’s strategic approach to regulation. The Council says it believes this will “strengthen the assurance we give to the public that pharmacies are providing safe and effective services and care.”

“It will also help to drive continuous improvement within pharmacies, by shining a light on the outcomes of inspections and sharing information that will help the sector to learn and improve,” the GPhC said. 

Additional proposals

The GPhC proposes moving to a model that includes three types of inspections:

  • Routine – routine inspections will be conducted in every pharmacy as per current practice, but risk indicators will be increasingly used to identify pharmacies that require urgent inspection
  • Intelligence-led – in which the GPhC investigates a pharmacy in response to concerns that have been raised
  • Themed – in which a selection of pharmacies are visited to focus on specific themes or issues.

In addition, the GPhC plans to move to unannounced inspections to ensure a pharmacy’s rating more accurately reflects its practice. Pharmacies currently receive four to six weeks notice.

The GPhC also proposes that inspections could only result in two possible outcomes – ‘Met’ or ‘Not met’. Under the proposals, if a pharmacy fails to meet any of the 26 standards for registered pharmacies, it will receive an overall rating of 'Not met' and be given a mandatory improvement action plan.

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