An exploration of the utility of appraisals for the revalidation of pharmacy professionals in community pharmacy in Great Britain

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Abstract

Background

With revalidation in pharmacy in the United Kingdom fast approaching, appropriate systems of revalidation in community pharmacy are required. With little known about the potential use of appraisals for evaluating fitness to practice in pharmacy professionals (pharmacists and pharmacy technicians) in this sector, research was undertaken to explore their potential utility in a revalidation process.

Objectives

To examine existing structures and processes in community pharmacy appraisals in Great Britain (ie, England, Scotland, and Wales) and consider the views of pharmacy stakeholders on if, and how, appraisals could contribute to revalidation of pharmacy professionals.

Methods

Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with senior staff (eg, superintendents and professional development managers) from chain community pharmacies as well as pharmacy managers/owners from independent pharmacies. Senior staff from locum agencies and pharmacy technician stakeholders were also interviewed.

Results

Appraisals were in place for pharmacists in most chain pharmacies but not in independent pharmacies. Locum pharmacists were not appraised, either by the companies they worked for or by the locum agencies. Pharmacy managers/owners working in independent pharmacies were also not appraised. Pharmacy technicians were appraised in most chain pharmacies but only in some independent pharmacies. Where appraisals were in operation, they were carried out by line managers who may or may not be a pharmacist. Appraisals did not seem to cover areas relevant to fitness to practice but instead focused more on performance related to business targets. This was particularly true for those in more senior positions within the organization such as area managers and superintendent pharmacists.

Conclusions

Existing systems of appraisal, on their own, do not seem to be suitable for revalidating a pharmacy professional. Considerable changes to the existing appraisal systems in community pharmacy and employer engagement may be necessary if they are to play a role in revalidation.

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