Existing arrangements for monitoring community pharmacies in England: Can they have a role in the revalidation of pharmacists?

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Abstract

Background

Maintaining and regulating professional competence in health care is a growing concern. Tasked with developing a system of revalidation for pharmacy professionals, the pharmacy regulator in Great Britain commissioned a series of studies to evaluate existing sources of evidence as potential contributors to the revalidation process.

Objectives

To explore the utility of existing regulatory inspections and service commissioners' contract monitoring processes in the community pharmacy sector as sources of evidence of the fitness to practice of pharmacists in England.

Methods

Thirteen semistructured telephone interviews conducted with representatives of the regulatory Inspectorate and community pharmacy commissioners.

Results

Interviewees described current processes for inspecting and monitoring community pharmacy premises and the services they provided. Their focus was primarily on the pharmacy and not on the pharmacist. Views were given as to how the roles of the Inspectorate and service commissioners might be developed to incorporate aspects of revalidation. Particular issues were raised in relation to the revalidation of self-employed locum and independent owner pharmacists.

Conclusions

Existing inspection and contract monitoring processes have little utility in providing evidence of the fitness to practice of individual community pharmacists in England. However, there may be potential for the Inspectorate and service commissioners to develop a role in revalidation, particularly for locum pharmacists and/or independent pharmacy owners. Moreover, they may take a role in providing the infrastructure required to support the process of revalidation for community pharmacists. Current financial pressures and restructuring in the National Health Service, however, are obstacles to the development of revalidation processes.

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