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GPhC sees ‘significant rise’ in March fitness to practice complaints

The GPhC received 380 complaints in March
The GPhC received 380 complaints in March

There was a “significant rise” in the number of fitness to practise concerns it received in March, according to the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).

The GPhC last month saw more than 100 additional concerns on the March average, the regulator said in its latest council papers, published ahead of its virtual meeting on April 23.

It told C+D today (April 22) that it received 380 complaints in March this year, compared to 227 and 244 in 2019 and 2018 respectively.

Speaking during a council discussion held earlier this month (April 9), GPhC director of fitness to practise Carole Auchterlonie said many of the concerns were “about pricing and profiteering,” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, it was “unlikely that the rise would follow through into fitness to practise cases”, she said.

This is because some concerns might be passed to another regulator or agency, such as the Competition and Markets Authority, for them to deal with instead, the GPhC clarified to C+D.

“However, sometimes we may carry out an investigation alongside another body or agency,” the regulator added.

“Minimise burden”

The fitness to practice team is  “focussing resources where they [are] most needed”, trying to “minimise the burden on pharmacies”, the GPhC – which suspended all routine inspections last month – said in the papers.

The regulator is allowing registrants “more time to respond to concerns or to prepare for hearings if needed”, it added.

“A protocol for dealing with fitness to practise concerns relating to temporary registrants [has] been developed,” the GPhC said.

The regulator had also scheduled its first principal hearing via video conference. At the time of the council discussions on April 9, this was due to take place the week of April 13.

Last month, the GPhC said it will take COVID-19 into account if it receives concerns related to professionals on its register where the virus is a factor.

Powers to GPhC chair

The regulator decided at a council meeting last month that, from March 12 and “until further notice”, GPhC chair Nigel Clarke will be authorised to make decisions on behalf of the council if virtual meetings cannot be organised.

“In taking any such decisions, the chair will consult with as many members of council as is feasible before making a decision,” the papers said.

However, the GPhC specified that this delegation of powers “does not include [making] rules, which cannot be delegated”.

Have you raised concerns about a colleague last month?

Linda Victoria, Community pharmacist

I have people complain because of the shorter opening hours and thanks to this ungrateful people , we only have half an hour to catch up now. Please focus on us who risk our lives for the community and try to do something meaningful.

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

<LARGE MUTLIPLE> probably looking to get rid of some of the higher paid, long-serving pharmacists by trawling through their advantage card records.

The signatures on those MUR forms better be 100% within the alloted box else it's FtP you naughty, 30-year unblemished career drain on our finances

V K P, Community pharmacist

GPhC could you please buy all the pharmacies and their stock following which you are welcome to give out the items  as charity for all we care. until such time enjoy the paid canary wharf building security at the pharmacist and pharmacies expense. not only are the public ungrateful the GPhC are worse. they take our money to then abuse us. when do i get to become a GP and move under the BMA umbrella??? anyone???

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

These days GPhC would carry out full investigation  FTP after a pharmacist has been assaulted/seriously maimed. 

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

Maybe it relates to Locums earning too much money? We know that is a current GPhC priority after the statement from Rudkin.

Farhat Ahmed, Locum pharmacist

Dear C&D, would you have figures to show how many of these FTP cases relate to JHOOTS over pricing. Are the cases in the public domain, I am genuinely interested because my pharmacy recieved abusive calls regarding over pricing after the Jhoots incident hit the media. I had nothing overpriced, the only prices that were increased were proportional to the wholesaler increase in price.

O J, Community pharmacist

Shall we clap at 8pm tonight?

Pear Tree, Community pharmacist

Dear GPhC , can we please focus on the global pandemic called Covid-19 for the time being instead of worrying about FTP raised by ungrateful public? Thank you. 

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