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Published on 17 May 2007

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Go-ahead for UK regulatory bodies

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Historic changes to the regulation of UK pharmacy proposed earlier this year have been endorsed by an independent working party.

Theworking party, led by Lord Carter of Coles, worked with keystakeholders on proposals to form two separate bodies to oversee UKpharmacy: a General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) to regulate theprofession, and a body akin to a royal college to provide leadership.

The report of the working party on professional regulation and leadership in pharmacywas published on 16 May. Submitting his recommendations, Lord Cartersaid: “There is no doubt a GPhC should be formed. It is appropriatethat the regulation of the profession falls in line with otherhealthcare professionals, by ensuring regulation is independent ofprofessional leadership. The transformation from a ‘product-focusedservice’ to a truly clinical profession, directly caring for patientsand the public, is to be welcomed.”

He said: “Thecomplexity of establishing a new regulator and an effectiveprofessional leadership body should not be underestimated. I haverecommended a rigorous approach to implementation, as a partnershipbetween Government and the profession.”

The working partyalso recommended the Government set up a Pharmacy Regulation andLeadership Oversight Group, to work with the profession and the UK’sdevolved administrations, advising ministers on how best to ensure thatthe GPhC was established safely and effectively. It would also helpensure a “royal college” was established.

Health MinisterLord Hunt said previously pharmacy had not necessarily been given therecognition it deserved as a core sector of the health service. “As wedeliver more patient care in primary care and community settings, therole of pharmacists will continue to develop. We must do all we can toensure the profession is ready for the challenges ahead.”

RoyalPharmaceutical Society of Great Britain president Hemant Patelcommented: “We want to work with others to ensure that the professioncan realise its full potential in improving patient care and safety.The RPSGB welcomes this report and the recognition that the societywill form a major component of a body akin to a royal college. We arealready working with pharmacy organisations to bring this to fruition.”

APharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland spokesperson welcomed thefocus pharmacy regulation and professional representation was receivingfrom the Government, and work to develop a “royal college” and GPhC.However, he said: “There is an equally compelling argument as to whythe society should remain the independent regulatory body in NorthernIreland. We wish to ensure there is equal voice and representation forthe devolved nations.”

Department of Health press release 16/5/2007



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