Each month I prepare a note of the most interesting or important regulatory developments in community pharmacy over the preceding month.
During November 2022, I found myself talking about:
Between July and September 2022, the General Pharmaceutical Council, or GPhC, received its highest ever number of new fitness to practise concerns. However, the increase in concerns has not resulted in a proportionate increase in concerns referred forward for substantive investigation, indicating that the concerns being submitted to the GPhC are low level matters, possibly resulting from the current pharmacy workforce crisis and increase in unplanned pharmacy closures.
The GPhC has launched a consultation on revising its hearings and sanctions guidance in fitness to practise cases. The two proposed changes relate to (i) decision-making in cases where discrimination is a component and (ii) taking account of cultural factors when fitness to practise panels are deciding on outcomes. The GPhC states that the proposed new guidance will “make clear what we mean by discrimination, bullying and harassment, and how seriously concerns of this nature will be taken” and will also “make sure that panel members consider cultural sensitivities and differences when taking account of expressions of apology and insight”. The consultation opened on 29 November 2022 and will remain open until 31 January 2023. You can respond here.
NHS England has announced that the 2022/23 community pharmacy contractual framework national clinical audit will focus on Valproate, with an aim of reducing the potential for harm from Valproate prescribing in patients of childbearing age. The 2022/23 audit must be conducted for six consecutive weeks at any point during the financial year, finishing no later than 31 March 2023 (therefore needing to start no later than 17 February 2023).
On both 7 and 14 December 2022, PSNC will be hosting events for contractors to speak with PSNC Chief Executive Janet Morrison and a number of Negotiating Team Members. PSNC is “keen to talk to contractors about their current situation and the steps they might be willing to take in future, should emergency relief not be forthcoming”. Contractors will also be able to “hear about how they can support PSNC’s political and public campaigning work”. Sign up is here.
On 1 December, Policy Exchange (the independent think tank) published ‘A Fresh Shot: The future for vaccines policy in England’. This report recommends a significantly enhanced role for community pharmacy in vaccination delivery and proposes that “community pharmacy should be commissioned to deliver all adult vaccinations through National Enhanced Services”. The report can be accessed here.