The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is the body responsible for the independent regulation of the pharmacy profession within England, Scotland and Wales, responsible for the regulation of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises. It was created, along with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, in September 2010 when the previous Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain was split so that representative and regulatory functions of the pharmacy profession could be separated.
The Health and Social Care Act 2008 and the subsequent Pharmacy Order 2010 allowed for regulatory functions of the RPSGB to be transferred to the new pharmacy regulator, the GPhC. The GPhC is therefore responsible for the update and maintenance of the registers of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy premises and pharmacy training premises. These registers can be accessed electronically by any member of the public online at the GPhC's website.
In addition the GPhC states that the Health and Social Care Act 2008 has sufficient provisions to allow for the transfer of regulatory powers from the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland to the GPhC in the future, subject to approval of Northern Ireland Ministers.
The principal functions of the GPhC, as stated within Pharmacy Order 2010 are;
Furthermore, under statute, the GPhC must have the following committees;
The Pharmacy Order 2010 requires not only that the GPhC sets acceptable standards of continuing professional development (CPD), but that it ensures that all registrants meet those required standards, and that there are processes in place for various remedial measures, including removal of a registrant from the register if they either fail to meet these standards, or make a false statement in relation to their CPD.
The GPhC is governed by a fourteen-member GPhC Council, with equal numbers of lay and registrant members, which is independent from the government, the professionals it regulates and any other interest groups. The GPhC state that to reinforce this independence, all members of the GPhC Council, including the Chair are appointed by the Privy Council, rather than elected.
The first Chair of the GPhC Council was Bob Nicholls CBE, a lay member with extensive experience in the National Health Service, who has previously been a lay member of the General Medical Council, among other regulatory appointments. The current Chair is Nigel Clarke, a lay member with experience of the General Osteopathic Council and chairing the Future Professional Body for Pharmacy and then the Transitional Committee, which created the prospectus for the reformed Royal Pharmaceutical Society
The GPhC Exam or GPhC Registration Assessment exam was set by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, but since September 2010 has been the responsibility of the GPhC. The examination takes place on two occasions each year: the summer (the last Friday in June) and the autumn (the last Friday in September).
The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA), is an independent body accountable to the UK Parliament, which promotes the health and wellbeing of the public and oversees the nine UK healthcare regulators, including General Pharmaceutical Council.
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