It’s funny what you remember. Recently I was about to file the letter bearing the rather strident subject heading “Action required: sign up to the updated GPhC system to renew and revalidate” when the Girl Guide motto “Be Prepared” popped into my head. So I stuck the letter in my diary, scheduled it as a task that needed to be done – much as I do when the credit card bill arrives – and just got on with it when I had a spare few minutes.
It was a bit faffy to start with. While I had the letter to hand, my registration number wasn’t on it (why, GPhC, why? Surely it wouldn’t have been that difficult to include given that the letter was personalised with my name and an activation code?), so I had to go and locate it. And it was unexpectedly helpful that my mobile happened to be in my pocket because the sign up procedure involved receiving and entering a verification code, and being able to view this in an email on my phone meant I didn’t need to switch between applications.
Once I’d entered the verification code – though it wasn’t immediately obvious that this had to be done before anything else could be achieved – I needed to choose a password which conformed to pretty standard requirements (three lower case letters, upper case letters, numbers and special characters, with a minimum length of eight). I was also asked how I want the GPhC to contact me with “essential” and “important” information: no details were provided on what this might be, but it seemed to matter, because when I opted for only email communication, I was prompted to confirm that this really was my chosen preference.
And then I was in! Well, the site automatically logged me out and I had to sign in again, but fortunately I’d not forgotten my email and password in the intervening five minutes. So a useful reinforcement exercise. Once logged on, I was struck by how stripped back and straightforward the portal is. Anyone looking for guidance will be disappointed, but as someone who wants it to be as easy – and obvious – as possible, it’s bang on. The main screen has three sections that summarise a registered pharmacy professional’s current status: registration (name and GPhC number), revalidation (currently at 0/4 completed, but it is helpful that the date records are due is specified) and renewal (presently given as “not due”). There are also tabs along the top where you can access receipts (very important as pretty much everyone either needs these in order to make an expenses claim from an employer or offset it against income on a tax return), and access personal details. You can access the portal directly at mygphc.org or click through from pharmacyregulation.org, though the jury’s out for me on whether I like the fact that this option means it opens in a new tab/window or if I’d prefer to be able to move between the two.
My overriding impression was relief. Well, relief tinged with hope. It has taken a long time to get to this point with what was known as continuing fi tness to practise. Communication on the issue has been, at times, muddled. While there was never any doubt that care was being taken to get it right, I was anxious that it might simply be more of the same, with lessons not learned from CPD and uptodate.org.uk. But this is clear, to the point and absolutely what is needed: revalidation now feels much less daunting.