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GPhC review of equality and diversity in fitness-to-practise cases on hold

Recommendations made in the Williams review of gross negligence manslaughter in healthcare in relation to diversity need to be reviewed before the General Pharmaceutical Council publishes its equality and diversity report, the regulator says.

A General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) review of equality and diversity has been put on hold following recommendations made in a rapid policy review of gross negligence manslaughter in healthcare.

The GPhC had planned to publish an externally produced report on equality, diversity and inclusion in its fitness-to-practise (FtP) processes, with a proposed publication date of September 2018.

But a spokesperson for the GPhC said recommendations made in the Williams review of gross negligence manslaughter in healthcare in relation to diversity needed to be reviewed and considered in more detail before the work could be published.

“Although we undertook initial steps to take forward work to report on equality, diversity and inclusion within our own FtP processes, we want to consider this in the context of the wider recommendations raised through the Williams review and the proposed changes to the [Professional Standards Authority (PSA)’s] Standards of Good Regulation,” he said.

“We will be able to provide further updates once we have considered the recommendations in full and any subsequent impact on our work.”

The rapid policy review was chaired by Norman Williams, a former president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, was carried out in the wake of the Hadiza Bawa-Garba case. Bawa-Garba, a doctor, was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter and struck off the medical register after the death of a child in her care.

The case led to some doctors boycotting reflective entries as part of their appraisal process and, when the review was announced earlier in 2018, Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC, said pharmacy professionals should record how the reflective element of pharmacy revalidation benefitted their practice, rather than recording what was discussed.

One of the recommendations in the Williams review was that professional regulators should ensure that FtP panel members must receive “appropriate equality and diversity training”.

The GPhC already requires FtP panel members to complete equality, diversity and inclusion training programmes before they can take up their posts.

The review also said that the PSA, which oversees healthcare regulators, intends to produce equality and diversity standards for professional regulators as part of its Standards of Good Regulation.

It also said healthcare regulators must ensure the public had confidence in the regulators’ decision-making on healthcare professionals’ fitness to practise. And it called on the PSA to “develop guidance to support consistent decision making in this area”.

A further recommendation was that the PSA should look at the outcomes of FtP cases covering similar incidents across the different health professions, consider why outcomes might have varied, and then recommend changes to ensure greater consistency.

The GPhC spokesperson said: “The rapid review makes recommendations across the health and care landscape, including for health professional and system regulators. We will be considering the recommendations of the report [overall] and what we need to do going forward.” 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205009

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