Regulations apply to Charities as well as most professionals such as Pharmacists, Lawyers, Doctors and other health care professionals etc. A breach of any regulations that apply can result in action being taken by the regulator concerned.
Professional Bodies: Any failings in following the regulations can result in an action being taken by a regulator as a result of a direct breach of any regulations that govern the profession or they can be triggered by other factors such as criminal offences or even civil breaches.
It is important to get early intervention advice when such matters arise which may affect the outcome of future hearings before the regulators.
We have experience of dealing with professionals who have worked in the medical and legal professions, as well as being very familiar with criminal law.
Charity Bodies: Charities are registered are governed by a number of acts, the main ones being Charites Act 2011 and the Charities (protection & Social Investment) Act 2016. Charities are overseen by the Charities Commission which has the power to investigate and in intervene in a charity and where necessary take action against the charity and its trustees/employees. Other acts which are relevant are the Trustees Act 1925, The Charities Act 1992 and 2000. The position of the Charity Commission has been strengthened by the 2016 Act which amended the 2011 Act to allow the Charities Commission:
We have advised charities on their position where issues have arisen with the Charity Commissioner
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) regulates pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and registered pharmacy premises in England, Scotland and Wale ensuring all members are fit to practice.
What is ‘fitness to practise’?
A pharmacy professional is ‘fit to practise’ when they have the skills, knowledge, character and health necessary to do their job safely and effectively, and when they act professionally and meet the principles of good practice set out in our various standards, guidance and advice.
If a case is referred to the committee, there will usually be a hearing. The hearing is held by a panel of three people (a chair, a registrant member and a lay member). Other people may also be at the hearing, including a legal adviser, a medical adviser, GPhC staff, any witnesses, the registrant and any representatives they have. FtP panels hear evidence and decide whether a pharmacy professional’s fitness to practise is impaired.
How does a fitness to practise committee make its decision?
During a hearing the committee follows a three-stage process before it reaches a decision on whether to impose a sanction, and if so, which sanction to impose. Once the committee has heard the evidence, it must decide:
If the Fitness to Practise Committee finds an allegation to be true, a pharmacist or pharmacy technician can face a number of sanctions:
In a hearing, the GPhC has to prove the facts alleged against a pharmacy professional. The standard of proof which applies is the ‘balance of probabilities’. This means that the committee will find an alleged fact ‘proved’ if it decides, after hearing the evidence, that it is more likely than not to have happened. This is not the same as the standard of proof in a criminal court, which is ‘so that you are sure’.
We have experience of defending pharmacists facing fitness to practise proceedings before the GPhC. If you are under investigation by the GPhC or you have been called to a hearing, it is vital that you seek specialist legal representation to safeguard your practice.