A separation of responsibilities for regulation and professional leadership for all health professions was heralded by a White Paper in 2007 entitled Trust Assurance and Safety. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) currently undertakes both these roles within the pharmaceutical profession. The draft Pharmacy Order 2009 proposes the establishment of a new pharmacy regulator to be known as the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). The aim is to have the GPhC up and running in 2010. The draft order can be accessed here as can details of the DH consultation on the proposals, which will run to 9 March 2009. The new regulator will deal with maintainance of a register of professionals and will consider issues of fitness to practise and set standards for education and training, and continuing professional development.

If the proposals are accepted the GPhC will be responsible for the future regulation of healthcare professionals (pharmacists and pharmacy technicians) and the regulation of pharmacy premises. It will appoint the inspectorate who enforce standards. It will be a legal requirement for practising pharmacy professionals and premises to be registered with the GPhC. The GPhC’s main aim and objective will be to protect the public.

Following much research within the profession and amongst stakeholders, and following the Clarke Inquiry, a new professional body for pharmacy will be created. The new body aims to provide strategic leadership and professional support for pharmacists, provide a voice for the profession, and in particular to be the principle voice of the profession to its new regulator the GPhC. It is not intended that membership of the new professional body will be compulsory.

It is proposed that the designatory letters (such as MRPharmS) after a professional’s name, which at the moment indicate a pharmacist’s ability to practice, would become a benefit of the membership to the professional body.