Pharmacy regulation needs to be proportionate and evidence-based, meet the needs of patients and the public and drive improvement, according to the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA).
The CCA has today (10 August) published its response to the General Pharmaceutical Council’s consultation on its approach to regulating pharmacy premises.
The CCA is generally supportive of the move towards unannounced inspections and the publication of inspection reports. However, its response raises several concerns, particularly:
- Whether the proposed binary inspection model will meet the needs of patients and drive improvement across the pharmacy sector and profession
- How variation in inspector decision-making and inspection outcomes across the country will be addressed prior to publication of reports, and
- What levels of ‘intelligence’ would spark an intelligence-led inspection.
Kate Livesey, Policy & Programmes Manager at the CCA said: “It is encouraging that the GPhC has continued to engage with relevant stakeholders and listen to feedback on their inspection model. We understand that the model is designed to drive improvement, rather than solely provide assurance to the public. We absolutely welcome this intention, which is why we question the move from four to two inspection ratings.
“We believe a binary scale could have a significant negative impact on confidence in pharmacy. From the point of view of patients and the public, it fails to differentiate clearly between those pharmacies that are well below the expected standards and those which have had only minor transgressions.
Overall, we feel that the terminology used by the CQC and OFSTED is more familiar to patients and the public, easier to understand, more aspirational for pharmacy teams and more likely to drive improvement across the sector.”