Following the General Pharmaceutical Council's (GPhC) announcement that it will be introducing revalidation for pharmacy professionals this week (24 April), The Pharmacist checked in with the sector to see how they feel about the regulator's proposals.

This week, the GPhC launched a consultation on their proposed process of revalidation, which, if approved, would see pharmacists submitting four CPD entries per year compared to the current nine, as well as a written reflection and a peer discussion report.

GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said: 'The evidence from our pilot and other research shows that the new approach makes better use of the time pharmacy professionals currently spend on recording CPD activities by actively encouraging better reflection on their learning and practice and a greater focus on the benefits to the people using pharmacy services.'

However, the proposals received a mixed reaction from The Pharmacist readers. Read on to find out how the regulator responded to their concerns.

'Creating work' for pharmacists

South-east London contractor, Al Patel said: 'The sound of submitting four CPD entries [as opposed to nine] each year is a joy, however it does not stop there. This new approach also asks pharmacists to have a written reflective account and a peer discussion. I hardly have time to write on order for stock, let alone a reflective account.

'This is absurd! The GPhC staff are creating jobs for themselves and work for us in these turbulent times.'


Peer review a 'great addition'

Pharmacist Philip Newland-Jones commented that although he welcomed peer review element of the GPhC's proposals, he did not see the benefit of writing reflective accounts.

'Creating space' for peer discussions and reflection

The GPhC said: 'The time to complete a peer discussion, including time to identify a peer, to make arrangements for the discussion, prepare for and hold the discussion and write up the entry is variable, but our evidence suggests that in many cases it takes between two and five hours and the actual discussion takes between 30 minutes and an hour.

'The time taken to complete a reflective account is variable, too, and may take between 30 minutes and an hour.

'By proposing to modify and simplify our requirements, including making four records for CPD, rather than the current nine, we are creating space for the two new activities that our research suggests will be more relevant to the day-to-day practice.'

No protected learning time

Patel also highlighted concerns that pharmacists may not be given protected learning time (PLT) to complete the different elements of the revalidation process, unlike other healthcare professionals.

He said: 'Even the GPhC accepted it would 'take some additional time to carry out' [the new CPD entries]. So how will this time be given to us? I doubt they will suggest any PLT, which our doctor colleagues get, even though they say this revalidation model is similar to those of doctors, nurses and midwives.'

The GPhC said: 'While individual employers may offer their employees time for CPD activities, health professions do not have a regulatory requirement for PLT.

'We would expect that pharmacy owners would maintain a culture of openness and learning, and support their employees in meeting all our standards, including completing CPD requirements.

'In our research, it was clear that many pharmacy professionals were engaging in peer discussions on their own time, which has informed our approach to reducing the burden on pharmacy professionals.'