The General Pharmaceutical Council – standards and conduct (part 2)

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The General Pharmaceutical Council – standards and conduct (part 2)
By: Anonymous | Published On: 7/04/19 6:03 pm

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) complaints process


The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) regulates pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and registered pharmacy premises in England, Scotland and Wales. Its general functions and duties are set out in The Pharmacy Order 2010. Regulation of these parties includes commencing disciplinary proceedings against offending members who fall under its ambit/jurisdiction.

Like all healthcare regulators the GPhC considers complaints relating to fitness to practise. Whether or not a professionals’ fitness to practise is impaired is no different a question to the NMC or GMC. The GPhC may consider it impaired following misconduct of some sort (not necessarily the commission of criminal offence which is a separate issue), questions about competence (primarily lack of it), ill health or conviction of a criminal offence.

A complaint which instigates a disciplinary process can come from anywhere or anyone.

Generally the disciplinary process ca be divided into four distinct stages:

Investigation of the complaint

Once a complaint is received the GPhC will first consider whether it is capable of reviewing it and investigating it. If the complaint is about you you should expect to be contacted during this stage. Do not assume that this means the matter will proceed to a disciplinary hearing because following a review of the complaint it can be dismissed. If it is not an inspector may visit the pharmacy or place of work and provide advice to the individual in question with recommendations. Common sense on your part and experience on mine would strongly commend following these.

Review of the evidence compiled

Once the investigation is completed a caseworker will conduct a review of the evidence. It is the caseworker who will decide on the appropriate course of action regarding the complaint. This is another opportunity for the case to be dismissed. If it is not decided to dismiss the case at this stage it is then forwarded by way of referral to the Investigating Committee.

The Investigating Committee

Although this will feel like a hearing – it is not. This takes the form of a private committee meeting whereby evidence is considered and any submissions on behalf of the professional in question are considered. Having done this the Investigating Committee will decide whether to:

  • take no further action (and obviously inform the professional of this);
  • send a letter of advice to the professional in question;
  • issue the professional with a warning;
  • agree written undertakings from the professional (although this can only be done if the concern relates to health or competence); OR
  • refer the matter to the Fitness to Practise Committee of the GPhC.

Disciplinary hearing

Should the final option above be taken then the complaint/concern will end with a substantive hearing. It will be the purpose of this hearing to decide if the professional’s fitness to practise is impaired.

If you are have any concerns about anything mentioned above contact me for a free no obligation initial conversation.

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