Some individuals and organisations have expressed their fears on the negative impacts of revalidation on community pharmacies, despite overall positivity towards the plans.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) held a meeting on 12 October to review the feedback of more than 1,800 individuals and 80 organisations, following a three-month consultation on the new framework.

Although there was ‘broad support’ for the view that proposals would ensure pharmacy professionals’ safety to deliver good services, some respondents raised a number of issues, including those around plans to introduce peer review.

The regulator said it would use the feedback to consider whether it should make changes to the proposals or produce further guidance on them.

Peer discussion

One of the main concerns around the revalidation proposals was the introduction of a peer discussion. Many respondents believe that access to appropriate peer reviewers might be challenging.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), which was one of the organisations to give feedback, said: ‘It is not clear how reviewers will provide better quality feedback and whether this will support professional development.’

It also questioned the proposals to include lay reviewers as part of the peer review process.

The RPS continued: ‘If lay people are selected from the general population, they must be of good standing, high quality and trained to a standard which allows for professional development feedback to be given.’

However, the GPhC noted that other consultation respondents ‘commented that the inclusion of a lay reviewer could reduce the robustness of the review process and affect the quality of feedback’.

Respondents are also worried that employers might use peer discussions for ‘performance management purposes’ or as a way to punish staff, who might be more reluctant to give honest answer and less likely to learn from their mistakes.

Welcoming change

Thorrun Govind, a locum pharmacist, said: ‘I think change can be a good thing in this situation but pharmacists shouldn’t be weighed on some work.’

‘Revalidation on its own doesn’t make you a brilliant healthcare professional. It is the extra work that pharmacists do in and outside the practice that helps develop their skills.

GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said: ‘We are encouraged by the broad support our proposals have received and will use the feedback we have gained through the consultation to further refine the framework before revalidation is introduced.’

The GPhC will reveal the dates of the start of revalidation at its next meeting in December.