The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is recruiting for a chief pharmacy officer to ‘bring a new pharmacy professional voice and presence’ to the regulator.

The new role, which could be filled by a GPhC-registered pharmacist or pharmacy technician, will sit within the regulator’s senior leadership team and ‘will be the most senior member of the profession within the GPhC executive’.

They will represent the pharmacy regulator on professional issues ‘in public, with the pharmacy professions and, increasingly, in multi-disciplinary teams and multi-disciplinary collaborative regulatory work’, the GPhC said.

And they will act ‘as the executive lead on pharmacy inspection and regulatory insight’, as well as providing ‘cross-cutting professional leadership within the GPhC’, working with both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

The GPhC recently justified a proposed 7.5% increase in its fees by saying that changes within the pharmacy sector would require ‘significant changes in the scope and complexity’ of its work, such as being able to adapt quickly, use intelligence more, and ‘be anticipatory’ in its approach to regulation.

It highlighted developments within the pharmacy sector that would require a regulatory response, including:

  • The growth of online pharmacies and services
  • More clinical services delivered in pharmacies and by pharmacy professionals
  • New technologies and scientific advances
  • Patient expectations of ‘person-centred’ care
  • More integration of health and social care, leading to pharmacy professionals working in a wider variety of settings

And the NHS’s chief pharmaceutical officers have this year committed to establishing a UK-wide Pharmacy Leadership Council that includes professional leadership bodies, specialist professional groups, an independent Chair and other expert members.

This follows a report from the Commission on Pharmacy Professional Leadership, in which co-chairs – former GPhC chair Nigel Clarke and Professor Dame Jane Dacre, Professor of Medical Education at UCL – wrote that ‘pharmacy is at its time of greatest opportunity’ and ‘pharmacy professional leadership as a whole urgently needs a strong, united voice’.

In particular, they highlighted the need to address insufficient collective leadership within the sector, a lack of progress in education and training, a lack of support for regulatory process, a lack of defined scope of practice for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and disengagement from professional leadership bodies.