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GPhC: Coronavirus to be taken into account in FtP cases

GPhC: Pharmacists should follow “national public health advice and guidance”
GPhC: Pharmacists should follow “national public health advice and guidance”

The GPhC has said it will take coronavirus into account if it receives concerns related to professionals on its register where the virus is a factor.

Health and care professionals “may feel anxious” about the decisions they have to make during the outbreak and how these could be considered if regulatory concerns are raised about their practice in these “challenging circumstances”, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) said in a joint statement released earlier this week (March 3).

The Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland, the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council are among 10 other regulatory bodies who agreed to the joint statement.

The regulators have reassured registered professionals that, when a concern is brought to their attention, it is always “considered on the specific facts of the case” – which could now include coronavirus.

When considering fitness to practise cases, the GPhC and other regulators will take coronavirus into account as a “factor relevant to the environment in which the professional is working”, along with any “resources, guidelines, or protocols in place at the time”.

National guidance

The regulators have advised healthcare professionals to adhere to “national public health advice and guidance” on the virus and follow “the values and principles set out in their professional standards”.  

However, they said professionals may need to “depart from established procedures” to assist patients in unusual circumstances such as these.

“We also recognise that health and care professionals may have understandable concerns about decisions they may need to take in order to provide the best care in challenging circumstances,” they added.

Healthcare teams are encouraged to use their “professional judgement to assess risk to deliver safe care”, informed by any guidance that is available, according to the statement.

“Our regulatory standards are designed to be flexible and to provide a framework for decision-making in a wide range of situations,” the regulators added.

Last week, NHS England asked pharmacies to appoint a coronavirus lead and identify a “suitable isolation space” where they could quarantine patients thought to have the virus.

As of yesterday (March 5), 115 people had tested positive for coronavirus in the UK. Last night, England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Witty reported the first UK death due to coronavirus. 

How concerned are you about the impact of coronavirus?

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

I was so worried about coronavirus I sold 300,000 packs of diazepam to buy £1000 bottles of hand sanitizer.

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

dont be fooled by these wolly words, they will have you over hot coals

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

It is surely not the remit of a pharmacist to quarantine someone - we are moving into the realm of hysteria here. Patients should be advised to self-isolate and ask for advice over the phone before potentially infecting pharmacy staff. Pharmacy personnel have families, and no doubt frail relatives in some cases.

Once staff and medical professionals experience symptoms in significant numbers, it will have a major impact on the already understaffed community pharmacy. Services would face disruption and working conditions would be dangerous in more than one sense.

I think pharmacists would not want to sign in as RP. We do not get public servant pay packages and we are often treated like we run a mac-fast food outlet.

Read about the latest independent closing premises. We are treated with contempt and expected to act like antimicrobial border force!

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

But look on the bright side. Stay healthy and your Locum rate might go up !

C A, Community pharmacist

"identify a “suitable isolation space” where they could quarantine patients thought to have the virus."


How about we just send them home to self isolate... rather than have them sitting around a pharmacy and have to decontaminate the whole pharmacy.

R A, Community pharmacist

I'm lost for words which is quite a rare thing for me!

ABC DEF, Primary care pharmacist

Anyone can create a petition to derecognise this incompetent GPhC and form a new one from scratch? Do send me the link and I'll be first to sign.

P M, Community pharmacist

veiled threats ... go to work even if your dying or youll be struck off....

Angry Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

Constantly using undermining tones for Pharmacists and always undermining us. What actual use are you to us Pharmacists GPhC?? If Pharmacists aren't well then in the interest of the public we have every right not to come to work. Stick your fitness to practice where the sun doesn't shine because yes, we're literally not fit for practice!! How I despise this organisation. 

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