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Vox pop: what worries you about revalidation?

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Amanda Smith, Community Pharmacy Manager

I MUST admit that I am quite looking forward to the new CPD requirements which will begin in April. This is probably partly (mostly?) due to the fact that I took part in the pilot last year so I’ve already had some experience of what will be involved.

I found the old method of recording CPD to be quite onerous and repetitive and I was never quite sure if I was interpreting the questions correctly. When I started the pilot I was very happy to see that the new recording form was much more straightforward to complete. It only had a few sections and the content was left to me to write a basic outline of what I had learnt and how I had been able to use it in my practice. It is definitely an improvement.

I was concerned about the other two aspects of revalidation: the peer review and the reflective essay, as I wasn’t sure what they would involve. After reading the guidance we were sent with the pilot it became a little clearer, but was still a bit daunting.

My technician at work was also part of the pilot, so we decided to bite the bullet and have a peer discussion. We had recently attended a training evening about patient safety and decided that we would discuss what we had learned during the evening and identify areas in our working practice where we could make improvements. This seemed to go well and we were able to implement some new ideas to increase patient safety, which we were then able to record as positive outcomes in our CPD record.

I didn’t get a chance to do a reflective essay during the pilot study as I wasn’t really sure what to do and at that time there wasn’t any specific structure to follow. After reading the information about revalidation, it appears that the topic of the reflective essay will be suggested by the GPhC which should make it reasonably straightforward; reflecting on how we meet certain GPhC standards.

I’ve read the Revalidation Framework from the GPhC, which answered most of my questions about the new requirements and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants more information.


Neera Goel, Pre-registration Co-ordinator for Jhoots Pharmacy and Jhoots Academic Teaching Practitioner at University of Birmingham

TO be honest, revalidation does not worry me. The RPS Faculty and the reflective portfolio students do at University, have a similar format to that of revalidation. Thus, I have no concerns with regards to that.

However, it is the recording side of things, which worries me. Where would it be kept and for how long? Would we not be able to transfer our current CPD entries from other sources over? I know my colleagues fear the peer review as they are unsure who is regarded as a peer and how that discussion occurs?

I believe the revalidation is stepping in the right direction. The current CPD framework was neither inspiring nor thought-provoking. This, however, is making us think, act, and discuss more openly. I will be interested to see how it goes, as I am due to renew my GPhC registration in the next few months, so only time will tell how successful I will be in the new process.

Thorrun Govind, Community Pharmacist

CHANGE is scary but I’m a firm believer in being positive when faced with changes and new challenges. Revalidation will involve four continued personal development (CPD) records, at least two of which must be planned learning activities, one reflective account and one peer discussion.

I actually believe this will be less onerous than the previous nine CPD requirement, which to many pharmacists became a tick box exercise and I welcome simplifying the recording requirements.

The most daunting part of the new requirement is the peer discussion and for many, including myself the main concern is who that peer will be. As a keen advocate for pharmacy, you can imagine though, talking about pharmacy and my practice with a peer will actually be quite enjoyable!

Jack Wright, community pharmacist

THE process of CPD, which is soon to become revalidation, has never really ‘worried’ me per se, although I certainly know pharmacists who do not enjoy the thought of having to record reflections on their professional practice. These CPD-hating pharmacists can generally be broken down into two groups: those who have no intention of reflecting on, or improving, their practice, and those who leave the formal process of recording such reflections until the last minute, when it becomes a dauntingly-large task.

Let’s face it, CPD is something we should all have been doing, and any vocation that doesn’t require its practitioners to maintain and improve their standards of practice does not deserve to use the word ‘profession’. The public and patient representatives rightly assume that the regulator will maintain and drive service standards, and revalidation should theoretically be a good way of doing that.

Part of the reason for revalidation is to encourage reflection on the benefits to the people using a pharmacy professional’s services, which may help to further the public image of the ever-evolving role of the pharmacist. This is something I think we can all welcome. I do, however, think that too little emphasis is placed on development of the individual pharmacist. The GPhC themselves have said that “we only want you to submit entries that have relevance to the people using your services” and this might prove a real challenge for, for example, a pharmacist taking a career break but who is still wishing to stay clinically up-to-date and on the register.

My main concerns, however, are about how the changes from old-style CPD to revalidation have been implemented. The GPhC have ‘simplified’ things by merging one pretty convoluted and complicated process – revalidation – with another – renewing your registration. They are moving things online-only, but are contacting registrants by post to provide account-setup information – Why?!

Furthermore, as of April 1, you are unable to write CPD entries via the old portal but, unbelievably, the new system is not yet working. This is all happening whilst the GPhC continue to emphasise how important they consider CPD and revalidation as a way of maintaining and improving professional standards. Were the pharmacy professionals who co-created the new system out to lunch when this was decided?

As if all this did not already seem like a bad April Fool’s joke, we are told that on June 6 all the previous records will be deleted, when the system is taken fully offline. The way to save your records, should you wish to, is apparently to print them all off! This is insanity, and it comes from an organisation which says (in their response to the Department of Heath consultation: Promoting professionalism, reforming regulation): “We are committed to looking at how best we can share the data we hold and related insights across our functions”. Apparently deleting a vast chunk of it is the order of the day?

Overall, I think the move towards revalidation is generally a good thing, although its implementation has been shoddy at times, and I would welcome a clear statement from the GPhC that our private records are protected from their potential use in litigation, as we saw suggested recently in the Bawa-Garba case.

This, in my opinion, would be hugely beneficial to both pharmacy professionals and the profession as a whole. Oh, and if they could get the new system online, that would be great too. Saying how important CPD is whilst at the same time temporarily removing our capacity to record any, and arbitrarily deleting many years’ worth, is the epitome of mixed messages, and nobody needs that!


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