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New regulator for pharmacy

A new, independent regulator for pharmacy professionals and pharmacy premises in Great Britain will be set up in spring 2010, Health Minister Mike O'Brien announced today.

The new General Pharmaceutical Council will replace the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) as the regulator for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

The Council will develop new standards to provide a clearer framework within which to work to ensure that public health, safety and wellbeing continue to be at the centre of pharmacy services.

Following the recommendations in the government's White Paper Trust, Assurance and Safety - the regulation of health professionals in the 21st Century, establishing the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) will mean separation of professional leadership from regulation, ensuring that the regulator is independent of all interest groups. This is in line with regulation of other health professions.

Health Minister, Mike O'Brien said:

"Establishing a new General Pharmaceutical Council will give the public confidence that they are receiving the best quality pharmacy services.

"This new Council ensures professionals providing pharmacy services put patient safety at the centre of everything they do. As a new independent regulator, the Council will modernise and strengthen the regulation of pharmacy professionals, giving them support in developing and maintaining their skills."

The GPhC plans to create a single register for all pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises which will replace the registers currently held by the RPSGB.

The regulator's new definition of "practising" for pharmacy professionals will mean that many of those not previously registered as practising will now need to consider doing so. The titles "pharmacist" and "pharmacy technician" will be restricted to those on the GPhC register, regardless of whether or not they are in a clinical or patient-facing role.

Department of Health - General Pharmaceutical Council