Dr Jim Livingstone, Council President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and Chair of the GPhC, Nigel Clarke,co-hosted a meeting on 27 January to seek views from key stakeholders from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on a new formal group that will focus on the assurance of post-registration practice of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. The meeting was attended by Pharmacy Forum NI Forum Manager, Julie Greenfield.

The GPhC Council decided to establish the group after considering the recommendations from a shortlife working group chaired by Council member Aamer Safdar on the potential leadership and quality assurance role of the GPhC in post-registration education and training for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

Dr Jim Livingstone, President of the PSNI, said:

“Pharmacy education and practice are going through a period of positive and exciting change, and it is extremely important that there is an appropriate focus on post-registration education and training, to ensure the public are protected and to enable professional development and improving standards.

“This informative meeting has built on the stakeholder engagement work we have carried out in Northern Ireland, and it is right that this work continues on a UK wide basis.

“We look forward to working in partnership with our colleagues in the GPhC, and all stakeholders in this important area”.

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Northern Ireland Cathy Harrison, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England Dr Keith Ridge CBE,  Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Scotland Professor Alison Strath and Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Wales Andrew Evans said:

“High public, patient and NHS expectations of pharmacy professionals working in multi-professional teams, across rapidly developing areas of professional practice, means we need to further assure patient safety, and public and professional confidence.

“New initial education and training standards are now being implemented for pharmacists, but practitioners also require better support to develop beyond registration to higher levels of practice.

“Consistent standards for professional development pathways will support advancement through key career stages, minimising the risk of patient harm and improving outcomes.”

The GPhC and PSNI will develop the Terms of Reference for the group, to include the purpose and guiding principles, for discussion at the first meeting. The regulators will also confirm the group structure and membership, and dates for future meetings.