This site is intended for Healthcare Professionals only

GPhC receives record FtP concerns amid capacity worries

Profession news

GPhC receives record FtP concerns amid capacity worries

A “new record high” number of concerns were raised against pharmacy professionals in the fourth quarter of the 2023-24 financial year, the General Pharmaceutical Council has said in a report that warns of ongoing capacity issues affecting its ability to close cases in a timely fashion. 

Papers published ahead of a GPhC council meeting this Thursday (June 13) reveal that 1,423 concerns were raised around the conduct of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in Q4, with 5,477 concerns raised during the whole of 2023-24 – another record high. 

The council papers reveal in the three months to April 1, the regulator failed to meet five out of six targets for the timely progression of fitness to practise cases.

The GPhC said organisational capacity “continues to be a challenge” as the organisation deals with a rising caseload – including a “stubborn” backlog of cases – and moves to new ways of working, while the promotion of two staff members has forced the regulator to look at “urgent short-term options” to help remaining team members hit their targets.  

Despite these challenges, productivity has improved at all stages of the fitness to practise process. For example, a total of 69 “substantive” FtP hearings were concluded over the whole of 2023-24, up from 39 the previous year. 

And while just 17 per cent of initial concerns were triaged within five days, “far below” the GPhC’s stated goal of 59 per cent – a target that was previously revised down from 80 per cent – the average time to triage fell from 18 days in Q3 to 12 days in Q4. 

“We are conscious that the combination of increased concerns received and productivity in this area increases the risk of failing to act on serious concerns effectively,” said the regulator, adding: “We continue to work through our plans for mitigating that impact, reviewing decisions in this area through our quality control function and enhancing legal and clinical oversight at each stage.” 

The GPhC said a pilot initiative deploying an action team for new cases has “seen success” and has now become “business as usual” for the organisation, adding that it is “sharing the learning across the teams to ensure where possible we can take a streamlined approach to investigations”. 

The regulator said it is also looking at ways “to enhance the early identification and efficient handling of concerns which do not present any obvious need for regulatory scrutiny or intervention”.

Copy Link copy link button

Profession news