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GPhC to start anonymising FtP cases in October to tackle discrimination

Pharmacy News

GPhC to start anonymising FtP cases in October to tackle discrimination

The GPhC has said it will begin an “anonymisation project” in October to reduce the risk of ethnicity-based discrimination in fitness to practise cases.

In papers released ahead of today’s (July 14) council meeting, the GPhC said that case papers provided to its Investigating Committee (IC) will be stripped of information including a registrant’s name, place of birth, religion and the university they attended, “all of which could inform panellists of the likely ethnicity of the professional”.

The IC decides what cases should be referred to the FtP committee. It considers around 70 cases a year, the GPhC said, adding that it is engaging with IC panellists “around sharing the final redaction criteria and project framework” before the project goes live. “Significant resources” are being put into this project, it said.

The regulator is undertaking the project in order to reduce the risk of biases in its decision making around concerns raised against registrants, with black and Asian pharmacists continuing to have a disproportionate number of concerns raised against them.

Of 677 pharmacists who had concerns raised about their practise in 2021-22 for whom ethnicity data was available, Asian and Asian British pharmacists accounted for 55 per cent of concerns despite making up 39.3 per cent of the register, while black and black British pharmacists accounted for 10.5 per cent of concerns despite making up 7.3 per cent of the register.

The GPhC said that in October it introduced a number of other measures to minimise the risk of bias, such as flagging whether multiple concerns have been raised about a registrant by the same person and whether a registrant “has raised a concern internally in the period prior to being referred to the GPhC”.

It said it plans to collect more information about the source and nature of concerns, and the role and setting of the registrants who are concerned.

The regulator is also developing new operational guidelines for staff on dealing with concerns about antisemitism and Islamophobia, and has engaged the Antisemitism Trust to deliver bespoke training sessions on antisemitism for decision makers.

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