Fitness to Practise processes must be fair

Discrimination must be rooted out

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society welcomes the news from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) that it is consulting on ways to improve its fitness to practise processes.

RPS President Sandra Gidley said:

“The regulator’s drive to improve its understanding of fitness to practise proceedings is welcome, especially its promised exploration of why a disproportionate number of cases are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. The GPhC has a responsibility to ensure fitness to practise processes are fair and do not discriminate against any registrants involved.

“It’s been known for some time that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic pharmacists are overrepresented in fitness-to-practise cases, and the focus on this aspect of the process has been a long time coming.

“Members have raised concerns with us about the current process. To maintain the confidence of the profession, bias and discrimination must be rooted out and addressed to ensure those undergoing proceedings are not disadvantaged in any way. It’s positive to see the GPhC commit to analysing its data on these cases to ensure consistent and fair regulation, but prompt action and change are needed. We are also keen to see that cases of racism and discrimination are taken with the utmost seriousness and the appropriate support given to all parties involved.

“We will be responding to this consultation as an organisation and through engagement with our inclusion and diversity group - Action in Belonging, Culture and Diversity. They’ve already provided us with feedback that they want a fairer and more transparent process for those undergoing fitness to practise cases and subject to discrimination, and an action plan of how these issues will be addressed.”