Fitness to Practise
Fitness to Practise
|Pharmacy Regulations 2013|
Under the NHS (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013, pharmacies are required to provide a Fitness to Practise declaration to NHS England (through their local NHS Team) when they join the pharmaceutical list, and to keep the local NHS Team updated if they are subject to any incident which may affect their Fitness to Practise.
New applications to Local NHS Teams
When an application is made to a Local NHS Team’s for inclusion in a pharmaceutical list, the application must be accompanied by a Fitness to Practise declaration, unless the applicant already provided that information and the information is up to date.
NHS England publishes template forms (fitness information forms) which contractors can use to provide them with this information.
The duty to provide Fitness to Practise information arises from Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the NHS (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013.
Updating Local NHS Teams
All pharmacy contractors who are the subject of new adverse fitness to practise incidents must notify their local NHS Teams within 7 days of the occurrence. PSNC has produced an ‘e-form’ template, which can be completed in Microsoft Word by clicking the link below. The Fitness to Practise forms produced by PSNC are not mandatory.
Fitness to Practice Update Form (formerly form FtP2) (MS Word e-form)
The duty to provide updated information about Fitness to Practise matters for pharmacists on pharmaceutical lists are dealt with under Paragraph 31 of Schedule 4 to the NHS (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013.
All of the information that would be provided by a contractor using the PSNC FtP Update form is either that required by the local NHS Team, as outlined in the Regulations, or is considered to be appropriate information to provide to the local NHS Team in order to serve as identifying information (e.g. Superintendent Pharmacist registration number).
Despite the length and complexity of the template, its completion will pose no difficulty for the majority of contractors.
Q. I am a pharmacy contractor and have been told by the General Pharmaceutical Council that I am being investigated following receipt of a serious allegation. Do I need to notify my local NHS Team?
The fitness to practise provisions in the Terms of service require contractors to notify their local NHS Team within 7 days of an adverse fitness to practise incident. A contractor who is under investigation by a regulatory body into his professional conduct must report this to the local NHS Team. The FtP Update form above may be useful as a template.
Q. Can NHS England suspend me from the pharmaceutical list?
Yes, if NHS England is satisfied that it is necessary to do so for the protection of the public or is otherwise in the public interest, it may suspend a pharmacy contractor from the pharmaceutical list.
Q. What does 'suspension' mean?
Suspension means, that whilst the pharmacy contractor is suspended, he/she is treated as not being included in the pharmaceutical list. Suspension is a neutral act and does not imply that the pharmacy contractor has done anything wrong. It is a protective act – with the protection of the public or the public interest in mind – it should not be considered a punishment. The practical effect of suspension is that during this period, you will not be able to provide NHS pharmaceutical services – though see below for applications for temporary listing of another person (individual or body corporate) arising out of a suspension.
Q. Does NHS England need to follow a procedure in considering whether to suspend me?
Yes, before NHS England decides to suspend, it must notify you of the intended action e.g. suspension and the grounds on which it is considering taking that action. NHS England must also confirm any allegation against you and advise that you may make oral representations to them with regard to the possible suspension on a specified day.
Q.I have received notification from NHS England that it is considering suspending me. What can I do?
You may wish to notify NHS England that you intend to make oral representations on a specified day (which NHS England will state) within a specified period (set out in NHS England’s notification) – which cannot be less than 24 hours. If you do this, then NHS England must not suspend you until after an oral hearing, but may then suspend you with immediate effect.
If you do nothing then NHS England may suspend you with immediate effect.
Q. Does NHS England need to tell me how long suspension lasts?
In suspension cases which suppose that the continued inclusion of the pharmacy contractor in the list would be prejudicial to the efficiency of those providing pharmaceutical services, fraud or is otherwise unsuitable to be included in the pharmaceutical list, NHS England must specify the length of the period of suspension.
In other suspension cases, whilst NHS England awaits a decision affecting the pharmacy contractor of a court or of a regulatory body anywhere in the world, NHS England may (but is not obliged to) specify that the pharmacy contractor remains suspended after the decision referred to for an additional period which NHS England must specify.
Q. I am suspended. In the meantime, my patients do not have a nearby local pharmacy to access. Can I help my patients by getting someone to take over temporarily?
Yes, it is possible to apply for a temporary listing of another person (individual or body corporate) arising out of a suspension. This application should be determined by NHS England within 30 days from the date of receipt of all required information and documentation, unless there is good cause for a delay.