The General Pharmaceutical Council are the organisation that regulates pharmacies, pharmacy technicians and pharmacists throughout the UK. They work to make sure standards are adhered to and constantly being improved with regards to the standards of care for anyone making use of pharmacy services.
They were set up by the Scottish and UK parliaments and are independent from the groups they regulate and the government itself. The Pharmacy Order is the legislation that sets out their role and functions and they are completely funded by the registration fees paid by their members.
The main work of the General Pharmaceutical Council includes:
- Setting the standards for training and education of all pharmacists, pharmacy support staff and pharmacy technicians, and includes the accreditation and approval of training and qualifications.
- Keeping a register of all pharmacies, pharmacy technicians and pharmacists
- Setting standards that all pharmacy professionals need to meet for the entirety of their professional careers
- Carrying out investigations into concerns raised about pharmacy professionals who may not be meeting their standards. Following through on investigations by taking the necessary action to restrict the ability of them to practise to keep the public and patients safe or in order to ensure the public’s confidence in pharmacy remains intact.
- Setting the standards for pharmacies that are registered with the council that ensures they provide an effective and safe service for their patients.
- Inspecting all registered pharmacies to ensure they are meeting the relevant standards
The GPC’s governing council consists of seven members of the public and seven pharmacy professionals.
Who They Are
The General Pharmaceutical Council are run by a council that is made up of seven members of the public and seven pharmacy professionals.
Role of Council
The council has the role of ensuring that the General Pharmaceutical Council effectively fulfils its role to provide protection, promotion of and maintain the well-being, health and safety of the general public and to ensure that the public trust pharmacy in the UK.
As outlined in the Pharmacy Order of 2010, the council is allowed three statutory committees for investigating the fitness of individuals to practise pharmacy and appeal processes. The council also decided to have an additional four non-statutory committees.
The Statutory Committees
The Council has three statutory committee that carries out all the regulatory functions involving the investigation and decisions about the fitness to practise of registrants and carrying out the appeal process.
The GPhC’s statutory committees include:
- Investigating Committee – They are involved in considering allegations and accusations regarding the fitness to practise of a registrant being impaired and they decide whether the case should be referred to the Fitness to Practise committee.
- Fitness to Practise Committee – They make decisions about the cases noted above, reasoning on the concerns about their health, professional performance or conduct.
- Appeals Committee – They are involved in considering the appeals of decisions related to registration status and registration applications as outlined in Pharmacy Order of 2010, article 39.
As well as the above, there are also four non-statutory committees. These include:
- Audit and Risk Committee – They support the governing council of the GPhC by reviewing all external and internal audit arrangements and making sure they have suitable internal control arrangements and risk management in place.
- Remuneration Committee – They provide the council with advice on the remuneration for their staff, council members and associates
- Appointments Committee – They are responsible for selecting and recruiting statutory committee members
The GPhC are responsible for the definition of training and educational requirements for pharmacy technicians and pharmacists. They also set out the standards for support staff in pharmacy, including the likes of medicines counter assistants, pharmacy assistants and dispensing pharmacy assistants.
As noted earlier, it is important for all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to be registered with the GPhC and satisfy the council that they properly meet their requirements. It is important for all registrants to renew their GPhC registration annually, and the process involves the completion of a signed declaration that they meet the ethical, fitness to practise and professional standards outlined by the Council.
This all gives patients the full confidence that any individuals on the GPhC registers are qualified and meet their standards.
Who They Work With
The General Pharmaceutical Council work with a number of different organisations, groups and individuals. These include:
- Patients and the general public
- Providers, commissioners, the NHS and Governments
- Trade and professional bodies and associations
- Education bodies
- UK Social care and health regulators