The Pharmacy Council is easing in the rollout of its new recertification programme and easing existing requirements in recognition of the pandemic workload pressures facing pharmacists.
Chief Executive Michael Pead says pharmacists provided the Council with valuable feedback through its recent survey, and it was in part this that informed its decisions about both the roll-out of the revised recertification programme and the information and support it will need to provide pharmacists as the new framework is introduced next year.
“The Pharmacy Council has also made the decision to ease recertification requirements under the existing programme in the current year to recognise the large workloads as a result of the COVID-19 response.
“We recognise that most pharmacists have been affected by the pandemic, and many have found it difficult to undertake learning or gather the required evidence of learning. This oneoff easing of recertification requirements for the current year acknowledges that,” he says.
Michael Pead says the Pharmacy Council’s focus remains on ensuring public health and safety through safe and effective pharmacist practice, and it is confident these standards will still be maintained with the one-off easing of requirements.
With the new recertification framework, which begins in April next year, the Pharmacy Council will create a transitional approach to the roll-out.
“We are taking a stepped approach, with some requirements being introduced in the first year and the full set of requirements coming into effect from April 2022.
This means pharmacists have over two years before they need to have met the full requirements of the new framework,” he says.
Jeff Harrison, Chair of Council, says “Council recognises that the idea of changes to this core part of a pharmacist’s professional development activity is unsettling in the middle of a pandemic response. This said, we’ve had really great engagement from pharmacists and a variety of views about both the what and when. Council strongly believes that the new framework is better for both pharmacists and for Council allowing pharmacists to focus on activities that have an impact on their competence. We believe it allows pharmacists flexibility while still giving Council, and the public, confidence that pharmacists are remaining sharp.”
The Pharmacy Council will also provide support for pharmacists as part of the roll-out of the new framework.
This will include guidance material such as templates and examples of the standard of evidence required, as well as assistance when needed.
The cost of the new recertification requirements and its delivery (e.g. technology) on activities that have an impact on their competence will be met from existing Council budgets. This means recertification will not impose any additional cost to pharmacists, Michael Pead says.