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Revalidation: Considering COVID-19 in your reflective account

The GPhC revalidation changes have been extended – so what does this mean for your 2021 submission?

Reflective account

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has changed revalidation requirements in recognition of the continuing pressures on the sector.

On March 3, the GPhC announced that those due to renew their registration on or before November 30, 2021 and whose registration expires on or before January 31, 2022 would only have to submit a reflective account to renew their registration in 2021.

The myGPhC system will not let you submit your reflective account until you make a declaration about a peer discussion but because a peer discussion is not required for this years’ submission, the GPhC has advised registrants to tick 'yes' on the declaration to override this.

It is expected that revalidation requirements will resume in full after 30 November 2021, but the GPhC says it will keep this under review and provide an update beforehand that will be available on its website.

Exceptional circumstances

Those unable to submit the reduced submission of one reflective account by their revalidation submission deadline will need to complete an exceptional circumstances request on their myGPhC account. Registrants will need to provide evidence they have not been able to practise between 10–12 months of their registration year.

Reflecting on COVID-19

The GPhC has encouraged registrants to reflect on their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic when completing their submissions. Pharmacy professionals are still expected to reflect on one or more of the following three standards when completing their reflective account:

  • standard 3 - pharmacy professionals must communicate effectively 
  • standard 6 - pharmacy professionals must behave professionally
  • standard 9 - pharmacy professionals must demonstrate leadership

The GPhC advises that a reflective account should consist of three main sections:

  • a brief summary of your practise history for the last year, including who the typical users of your service may be
  • a statement of how you have met one or more of [the GPhC's] standards for pharmacy professionals
  • real examples taken from your practise to support your statement.

Below is an example of a reflective account by a community pharmacist, considering all three of the relevant GPhC standards from a time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Example reflective account

Provide us with a reflective account of how you met one or more of the standards for pharmacy professionals.

As a small independent pharmacy in a local village, we provide services to patients and the public, most of whom are regular customers known to all the staff in the pharmacy.

During lockdown in February 2021, a gentleman came into the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for his son. I had not seen the customer for many months because his wife usually picked up their son's prescription.

I asked how he was coping with lockdown, and the customer seemed nervous and hesitant to reply. The customer discreetly asked if he could “speak to ANI” – and I understood that the customer was signalling that he was either at risk of or suffering abuse and needed immediate help and support.

I asked him to join me in the consultation room so we could speak privately and, very distressed, he explained to me that he had been the victim of domestic abuse at home from his partner during the past year. This had been amplified during lockdown, as he was no longer able to leave the house “to escape” due to being on furlough.

I listened empathetically and compassionately to the customer without being judgemental. After he had finished, I summarised what he had said to check my understanding and spoke to the customer about the options for how he could access support services and to consider if he should speak to the police (standards 3 and 6).

Having seen the codeword scheme on the news, I was able to recognise that the customer needed immediate assistance. However, this was not a scheme my pharmacy had been enrolled in. Following this consultation, I signed my pharmacy up to the service and, with the rest of my pharmacy team, completed the required training in order to participate in the scheme. This means all members of staff are familiar with the correct protocol when customers came in to seek support and advice.

I displayed promotional materials advertising the service both in the pharmacy and in the local GP surgery, should other customers or patients require support. After signing up to participate in the scheme, we have been able to support two more customers who have come into the pharmacy to ‘Ask for ANI’ after seeing our display posters (standard 9). By providing this service, our pharmacy team can continue to provide critical support and a vital lifeline for victims of domestic abuse.


For more information on reflective accounts, be sure to read C+D’s article ‘Reflective accounts: which standards should you consider?’

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