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We can't create RP or superintendent standards until supervision is sorted


We can't create RP or superintendent standards until supervision is sorted

By Neil Trainis

The General Pharmaceutical Council executive Duncan Rudkin has said it will shortly launch a consultation on the creation of a set of standards for the statutory role of hospital chief pharmacists but will not begin work on standards for responsible and superintendent pharmacists until the government has made a decision on supervision.

Rudkin (pictured) told yesterday’s Sigma Pharmaceuticals’ conference the GPhC is co-producing the standards for chief pharmacists alongside "chief pharmacists and those who work with them” and insisted the regulator will “take the same approach” to the new set of standards for responsible pharmacists and superintendent pharmacists once supervision has been defined in legislation.

“We’re very clear that we can’t sensibly start that piece of work until we know what the government plans in relation to supervision,” Rudkin said.

“The responsible pharmacist regime and the supervision regime, in many ways, are intertwined and can’t sensibly be looked at separately. So, our first order of business is the chief pharmacists’ standards and as soon as we know where we’re heading with supervision, we’ll be moving on with those superintendent and responsible pharmacist standards and potentially new rules about responsible pharmacists.”

'Growing team of specialist inspectors'

Rudkin also revealed that in an attempt to change its “capacity and capability internally” and ensure “regulation changes and evolves” as pharmacy teams’ “work changes,” the GPhC has been recruiting a “growing team of specialist inspectors.”

These, he said, include senior clinical advisers and prescribers who are currently working in pharmacy and also work part-time for the GPhC as inspectors “who are able to support the inspection of a much wider range of clinical services including prescribing services.”

Rudkin added: “Drawing on the skills and expertise of our senior clinical advisers, our specialist inspectors who are themselves prescribers across a range of disciplines, we’ve been putting together and sharing information about, for example, weight loss, good clinical governance in community pharmacy.

“One of the statements we issued jointly with the other professional regulators was where we contacted our other regulatory colleagues, the General Medical Council and Nursing and Midwifery Council, and said ‘look, we need to talk to our professions about shortages, for example.’ So, we led on a joint statement across all the regulators looking at that issue.

“And then earlier in our cycle, there was quite an important piece around gender identity services for young people and how to handle some of that complexity.”

Rudkin said the GPhC is trying to help pharmacists and their team “negotiate complexity and uncertainty” by “highlighting some of the legal and professional issues that we need people to be accountable for.”

“It’s not about laying the law down, it’s not about wagging our finger at people, it’s about recognising sometimes that there are no straightforward answers but that we can still help, I would hope, by talking about difficult issues, by being in the room and engaging with conversations, being with you, alongside you as you navigate your way through these complex challenges.”

Rudkin also reiterated that the GPhC has “a comprehensive plan to” improve the timeliness with which it deals with fitness-to-practise cases. A report by the Professional Standards Authority in September said pharmacy’s regulator failed to meet all of its standards for timeliness when it came to fitness-to-practise for the fifth successive year.

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