The term has been talked about for a number of years, but what exactly is revalidation? Quite simply, it is the process by which the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) checks that pharmacy technicians – and pharmacists – are up to date in terms of their knowledge and skills. It also provides reassurance to the public that the profession can be trusted to provide care that is safe and effective, over and above that which comes from completing a qualification that meets set standards to do the job in the first place.
At the moment, the most pressing issue is the imminent closure of uptodate.org.uk. Anyone who wants to keep the CPD records they have logged on that system needs to print them off, or save them as PDF files. Technicians who have tried to add to their CPD entries since the beginning of this month – which is when revalidation officially started – may have noticed that they aren’t able to. This is because the system is now read-only, and will be shut down permanently in June.
In its place will be an updated version of the myGPhC portal, which pharmacy technicians will already be familiar with from renewing their registration each year. The system has been extensively reworked, and with good reason: the next time registration is due to be renewed, it won’t be a matter of simply ticking a box stating that CPD activities are being undertaken. Instead, four CPD records will need to be submitted as part of the renewal process.
The good news is that CPD entries have got a lot more straightforward, with the Reflect-Plan-Act-Evaluate format replaced with three questions: what the learning is and why it is relevant to the technician, how it will be achieved, and how it has benefited service users. For example:
This is an example of planned CPD, which must comprise at least two of the four entries that are submitted each year. The other two can be unplanned, in which case only two prompts are given on the form: describe the opportunistic learning event or activity, and give an example of how this learning has benefited your service users.
From the second year of registration renewal onwards, the four CPD entries will need to be accompanied by two more revalidation records: a peer discussion and a reflective account.
The peer discussion is a constructive conversation between the technician and someone who understands their work – another technician or a pharmacist who works in the same pharmacy, for example, but ideally it should not be a line manager. It can take place face to face, over the phone or via video calling, but must happen in real-time, ie. not via email or messaging. The form the GPhC has drawn up asks for the name, role and contact details of the individual who has been the “peer” – and they may be contacted to confirm the activity took place, so consent should be obtained – and a description of how the technician’s practice has changed to the benefit of those who use their services as a result of the discussion.
The reflective account is a written description of how a technician considers they have met one of the GPhC Standards (the exact one will be specified each year). This should state the technician’s areas of work and who the users are (most commonly, patients or customers), and an explanation of how the Standard has been met illustrated with a real-life example.
Both the peer discussion and reflective account are new activities, so may be a little daunting initially. However, they won’t have to be done in the fi rst year of revalidation, and the GPhC has promised to issue more guidance in due course.
Once records have been submitted, the GPhC will check that they meet “core criteria”; basically, that the necessary number of the required records have been put forward by the due date. A certain number of revalidation records will be selected for review, either randomly or in a targeted manner, and these individuals will be sent personalised comments. Everyone else will receive summary feedback, which will be designed to help registrants improve their records in the future.
If the core criteria is not met, or records that are reviewed are deemed as not being up to the required standard, the GPhC will start a process called remediation, which may include requesting details of any mitigating circumstances (for instance, being on parental leave), asking for records to be resubmitted, or removing someone’s name from the register.
However, it is worth keeping in mind that revalidation is not a disciplinary procedure, but instead aims to encourage pharmacy professionals to constantly reflect and improve upon their practice. This, in turn, will ensure they can provide the highest quality service to patients, and is a worthy ambition that all in the profession should share.
Revalidation can seem a daunting process, so Training Matters is here to help. Join The Pharmacy Network for revalidation solutions. Thousands of pharmacy professionals are already using The Pharmacy Network to: