After evaluating its role in accrediting training for unregistered pharmacy staff, the GPhC is reviewing its framework and taking a step back.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is proposing that it will no longer accredit mandatory training for unregistered pharmacy staff. Following an initial period of consultation and evaluation, the regulatory body has concluded that its current system is “out of date and no longer fit for purpose”, and has therefore put forward a new framework for consultation.

A new way of thinking

While individual pharmacists are already accountable to the GPhC for the training of the pharmacy team, the proposed change makes it clear that accountability for selecting appropriate training and ensuring unregistered pharmacy staff are competent for their roles will sit with the pharmacy owner. The GPhC is proposing that it will cease its approval of individual training programmes and qualifications for unregistered staff, subject to agreement by its Council following the consultation.

Commenting on the change, a GPhC spokesperson said: “Everyone in the pharmacy team plays a key role in providing safe and effective care and we want to strengthen and assure the regulatory framework around staffing within pharmacy. We want to strengthen and clarify the vital role of employers, and in particular owners of registered pharmacies, in ensuring unregistered pharmacy staff are competent for their roles.”

The GPhC will develop and consult on new guidance for pharmacy owners, which will sit underneath principle two of the standards for registered pharmacies.

The guidance will cover all pharmacy staff and will outline the expectations that owners will assess and assure the competence of their staff, taking into account a minimum level of competence set for staff involved in the dispensing process and the supply of medicines.

The consultation on the new framework will begin in the autumn and the GPhC hopes to agree the final terms by the end of 2017.

Pharmacy reaction

Janice Perkins, pharmacy superintendent at Well, commented: “We think it’s helpful that the GPhC has made the decision to update the framework, as this recognises the important contribution that unregistered staff make to our pharmacy teams. We are currently working through what this means for all our employees, and how we can fully engage and support everyone through this change.” 

Ms Perkins added: “This is a great opportunity to ensure that everyone working in our pharmacy teams and those non-registrants in management roles are totally clear on their roles and responsibilities and the standards that the public, Well, and the GPhC expect. It’s important that this builds on the recently issued standards for registrants and ensures that the knowledge and skills of non-registrants reflect the changing landscape in which we’re all operating. Well will be involved in the consultation process and we’ll also be encouraging our employees to respond with their views to ensure that their voice is heard.” 

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