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A community pharmacy body has urged the UK government to ensure ongoing regulatory changes include streamlined inspections, revalidation based on formative assessment and revamped continuing professional development.
The recommendations, from the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), are contained in a communication to the Pharmacy Regulation and Leadership Oversight Group (PRLOG), which is tasked with overseeing the establishment of a UK pharmacy regulator.
PRLOG chairman Ken Jarrold agreed to take the points into account.
The NPA is a UK community pharmacy owners’ trade body that claims to have virtually all community pharmacies in voluntary membership.
PRLOG was set up following ministers’ acceptance of the recommendations of the Working Party on Professional Regulation and Leadership in Pharmacy, tasked with overseeing the establishment of a new regulator, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), in January 2010.
In its recommendations, the NPA said since the burden of regulation on pharmacy was increasing, a case could be made for streamlining the inspection regime and potentially cutting costs.
The current regime involved inspection by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and NHS primary care trusts and local health boards. Monitoring by PCTs and LHBs was variable, so if they were to undertake inspection a national inspection template was needed.
Furthermore, any pharmacy wishing to supply prescription-only medicines to patients without individual prescriptions under private patient group directions had to set up an independent medical agency and register with the Healthcare Commission.
On revalidation, the NPA argued for a more formative rather than summative process – for example, by portfolio compilation rather than examination. The association called for the establishment of a central framework and syllabus but with the possibility of revalidation being administered locally. The NPA also said devolution should be addressed to ensure pharmacists could practise UK-wide.
The NPA said most pharmacists undertook CPD on a daily basis but many found it difficult to record this due to limited time during the working day. The association called for a system that was easier and quicker to use, integrated better with pharmacists’ daily work and based on notes rather than detailed entries.