This fact sheet contains information about the GPhC requirements for revalidation for pharmacists. We have summarised the key points for pharmacists, but for full information including resources and FAQs, see the GPhC website.
The new process
Revalidation has replaced the original continuing professional development (CPD) system. Revalidation places more emphasis on reflection and will encourage pharmacists to consider how their learning and development has benefited the people who use their services. So, whilst pharmacists will still be carrying out and recording learning and development activities, there will be greater scope to comment and reflect on the positives of this learning.
When did revalidation happen?
The GPhC has introduced revalidation in phases. The first phase began with pharmacists whose registration was due for renewal on 31st October 2018. Subsequent groups then submitted records as their registration became due. This phased introduction meant that all pharmacists had submitted their first revalidation records by 14th October 2019. This year all pharmacists will have submitted their second set by 14th October 2020.
Please note, the GPhC will be using pharmacists’ registration renewal date. This should not be confused with their registration expiry date (which is two months after the renewal date).
Pharmacists who registered for the first time in 2019 did not need to submit revalidation records for that registration year. First submissions of revalidation records for the 2019 newly registered pharmacists will be in 2020, when their registration becomes due for renewal.
Pharmacists will need to submit their records via the new My GPhC online system. The new system went live in April 2018 and pharmacists should have received a letter with their PIN number so that they can log on to the new system.
Pharmacists should note that the new system will only store records for two years.
Using My GPhC
The GPhC has published a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that can help pharmacists through the revalidation process. The FAQs can be accessed on the GPhC website.
Pharmacists who encounter issues when they set up their account could have a look at the GPhC troubleshooting tips.
Pharmacists who would like to retain their records for longer than two years will need to find an alternative way to store them. For example, pharmacists could use an online system offered by another organisation, for example, the RPS, or they could store them on a computer at home.
Transferring records for submission
Pharmacists can store their records on MyGPhC (for a maximum of two years) and submit them when their renewal is due. Alternatively, pharmacists who want to store their records at home can use the GPhC revalidation record templates and transfer the records to the GPhC online system when needed.
What submissions must be made?
For their first year pharmacists will only need to submit four CPD records, at least two of which must be planned learning activities.
In their second and subsequent years, pharmacists will need to submit the following records:
- four CPD entries, at least two of which should be planned learning activities
- one reflective account
- one peer discussion.
The GPhC does not give a suggested word limit, but noticed in its research that entries that met the requirements tended to be around 400 words long. The GPhC has a range of example revalidation records for pharmacists to use as guidance for both planned and unplanned learning activities, reflective accounts and peer discussions. The examples cover a variety of pharmacy settings, including hospital, community and academia. These can be found on the GPhC website.
Planned and unplanned learning activities
The GPhC define unplanned learning “as an event or activity that enabled you to learn something new or refresh your knowledge or skills“. They expect pharmacists to demonstrate how this learning benefited the people using the service. Examples include the successful introduction of a new service, an internet search for medical information to help patients to manage their medical conditions/medicines and research using medical journals.
Planned learning is when pharmacists look ahead and think ‘this needs refreshing’, or identify new skills that they can take on, for example, in prescribing or injecting. Planned learning activities would include any planned learning event, for example, this could be an online course, an external/internal training event or a conference.
The GPhC defines reflective practice as critically evaluating practice and learning ways to improve outcomes for patients and service users. Pharmacists may find it helpful to take a step back and think about the services they provide and how this impacts on service users. The following questions may prove helpful when submitting a reflective account:-
- what happened
- what was I trying to achieve
- what did not go so well and why
- how did it affect others – in particular, the people using my services
- what were/are the consequences of me doing or not doing what I did
- what could be done differently next time
- what have I learnt from this that will change how I approach this situation next time?
Pharmacists will also need to focus on how they met met one or more of the GPhC’s standards for pharmacy professionals. The GPhC will inform pharmacists every year on which standard/s they will be able to choose from in their reflective account.
Pharmacists should also include a brief summary of their role, who their typical service users are and the type of work, for example, setting and outline of main roles and responsibilities.
For a reflective account form and guidance, see the GPhC website.
For the latest standards for pharmacists, click here.
Reflective accounts for pharmacists in a non-patient facing role
The GPhC uses the phrase people using your services and this covers not only groups such as patients, family and carers of patients but also groups such as health care professional colleagues, students or trainees and external organisations. Therefore academic pharmacists could consider the impact of their services on their students. Pharmacists in industry might look at the impact of their services in terms of the introduction of new medicines and the impact on health care in general (the greater public), or their impact on colleagues developing or manufacturing medicines.
Peer discussions are an opportunity to talk with somebody who understands pharmacy practice. It is also an opportunity to discuss a variety of different issues that might help pharmacists to reflect on their practice. This might include a particular case that proved challenging, but also provided an opportunity to learn. Pharmacists will also be able to focus on trying to identify any learning they need to undertake in the future. This is particularly useful for pharmacists who are finding it hard to decide by themselves what they need to learn. What happens in the conversation is up to the individuals, but pharmacist should keep the peer discussion focused on their practice and learning.
In order to be effective the GPhC recommends that pharmacists should be open and honest with their peer during the discussion. Issues to consider include reflecting on how the case was handled and how the patient benefited from their approach. Pharmacists will also need to include information such as why a particular peer was chosen.
For a peer discussion form and guidance, see the GPhC website.
Peer discussions for pharmacists in a non-patient facing role
Pharmacists in a non-patient facing role might want to consider how their work has impacted on a service user or group of service users. For example, pharmacists in academia might want to consider a case where they have helped a student to overcome adversity or implemented a change to the curriculum as a direct result of service users’ experiences. They could then reflect on how this benefited the user.
Pharmacists in industry might want to consider a case where they have overcome a difficulty in the development of a new medicine or updated information with regards to medicine usage. They could then reflect on how this benefited medicine users.
Can the same scenario be used for both the reflective account and the peer discussion?
Pharmacists should use more than one scenario for both records. The GPhC will expect pharmacists to use different situations for each record. However, pharmacists might want to opt for some planned learning if a peer discussion or a reflective account leads them to identify a topic that may require further development.
Who can be a peer?
There are numerous people who could be a suitable peer. They include:-
- a work colleague
- somebody from an education or training provider
- somebody from a professional body or association
- somebody from a local or national network
Pharmacists could also use social media networks such as LinkedIn to help them to find a peer. Equally, attending events such as conferences, external training or a Pharmacist Support wellbeing workshop will all provide further opportunities for meeting a peer.
The GPhC does not recommend that pharmacists choose peers with whom they have a very close relationship, such as a family member or close friend. Peers should have an understanding of the role of the pharmacist with whom they are having the discussion. This may mean that over the years, pharmacists might need to change their peers in order to reflect the varying stages of their career.
Can employers choose peers for pharmacists?
Employers cannot choose a peer unless a pharmacist specifically requests that their employer does so. Employers cannot force pharmacists to have a particular peer. Pharmacists will be asked to make a declaration to the GPhC confirming that they have selected their own peer. Employers should not use peer discussions as part of an individual employee’s appraisals. Peer discussions are for different purposes and should be given their own time even if they happen to be with the same person.
Pharmacists do not need to use somebody from within their place of work unless they want to. Pharmacists who select a health and social care professional as their peer should note that the GPhC will expect this person’s registration to be checked in advance. Pharmacists should ensure that the peer that they have selected is registered and that they are not subject to an active investigation.
Does the peer discussion have to be face-to-face?
It will not always be possible for pharmacists to conduct peer discussions face-to-face. Pharmacists working in isolated rural communities and pharmacists who are working outside the UK but still want to maintain their GPhC registration can consider a range of alternative methods. Examples include peer discussion by SKYPE or telephone.
Which submissions are selected for review?
The GPhC will check to ensure that all pharmacists have submitted their revalidation records as required. They will then review 2.5% of all submitted records. Some records will be chosen at random, others will be specifically targeted, for example, if the records are submitted late or if a pharmacist has had an issue with CPD in the past. Pharmacists who submit their records in time and meet all of the GPhC criteria are not usually reviewed for at least two years.
What information will the GPhC require?
Pharmacists whose records are selected for review should note that whilst the GPhC will contact peers to confirm that the discussion took place, they will not ask for any details of the actual discussion.
In some circumstances a peer review may cause concerns relating to a pharmacist’s fitness to practise. In these instances peers should refer to the GPhC guidance with regards to raising a concern.
Submitting revalidation records
Pharmacists will need to submit their revalidation records at the same time as they renew their registration. Pharmacists can record at any point during the year and submit records during the two months before the renewal deadline. Therefore the deadline for submission is the same as the renewal deadline.
Late and/or partial submission of records
Pharmacists can request an extension or a reduction in the number of records they need to submit if they have a good reason. Extensions and/or reductions in the number of records submitted can only be given for breaks of less than twelve months. Good reasons can include a serious medical condition or maternity leave. In these circumstances it might still be possible to renew a registration without the relevant revalidation records. The GPhC has a revalidation extenuating circumstances request process built into MyGPhC. In general, the GPhC will not reduce the number of records for breaks of less than three months, in these instances they are more likely to grant an extension.
Requests for extensions and/or reductions in the number of records submitted are dealt with on a case by case basis. For further information on the kind of request that might be best for you, contact the GPhC.
The GPhC advises that pharmacists who do not intend to practise within twelve months of renewing their registration should consider voluntarily removing themselves from the register and return to the register at a later date. Pharmacists who do this will need to show evidence of of the steps they have taken to keep themselves up-to-date with pharmacy practice.
Pharmacists who fail to submit some or all of their revalidation records without good reason will be entered into the process of remediation. Pharmacists who do not submit their records by the end of the designated period of remediation will be subject to the GPhC administrative removal from the register.
Action to take now
Pharmacists should continue to carry out as much CPD as is necessary in order to practise safely. Pharmacists should make sure that at least two of their CPDs are planned learning activities.
Other useful organisations
Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE)
The CPPE has a wide selection of courses for pharmacists. These include a mix of online and face to face learning events. Pharmacists could book on some of their courses for the planned learning activities that are required for revalidation. For further information, see the CPPE website.
The Pharmacy magazine has a learning section which includes CPD modules, practice scenarios and team training. For further information, see the Pharmacy magazine website.
Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS)
Pharmacists who are members of the RPS will be able to access the RPS Everything you need to know about revalidation resources. For further information, see the RPS website.
Study PRN offers a range of CPD modules that pharmacists could use for their planned learning activities. For further information, see the StudyPRN website.
This fact sheet was last reviewed on 6 February 2020.