The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has accused the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) of missing opportunities to support a more progressive approach to pharmacy regulation.

The disclosure of a recent inspection report to the PDA by one of its members revealed the GPhC gave the pharmacy a satisfactory rating for the staffing levels standard even though it had not been met.

That despite the inspector’s report noting that staff were in tears as they spoke about staff shortages and employees feeling under pressure to hit service targets.

The PDA was also concerned the pharmacy, which was given an action plan to improve the standard and an overall satisfactory rating, was not compelled to complete the plan.

“It is worth noting that completing the GPhC’s action plan is not mandatory and more importantly the GPhC’s internal policy is not to revisit the pharmacy to check the issues have been put right,” the PDA said.

It added: “The GPhC is inspecting pharmacies (as part of its routine inspections programme) once every five years on average, so typically would not re-inspect the pharmacy for a significant length of time.”

Referring to the GPhC’s policy on revisits to pharmacies rated satisfactory with an action plan, the PDA said: “It is unclear why the failure to meet GPhC premises standards may not, in the GPhC’s view, amount to a ‘direct risk to patient safety.’”

Insisting it had “repeatedly challenged the GPhC to improve its approach to regulating working environments in the pharmacy,” the PDA said its freedom of information request revealed that, as of August 7 2018, the GPhC had given 1,926 satisfactory ratings alongside an action plan since November 2013.

ICP has contacted the GPhC for a response.

 

(Picture: natasaadzic - iStock)

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