Role of the general pharmaceutical council

The role of the general pharmaceutical council: Ensuring quality and safety in pharmacy practice

In an ever-evolving healthcare landscape, regulating pharmacy professionals and premises is paramount to maintaining high patient care and safety standards. The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is tasked with this critical responsibility, safeguarding the public by ensuring that only qualified and competent individuals and establishments provide pharmaceutical services. In this blog, Dr Richard Dune delves into the GPhC's regulatory functions, the importance of its work, and best practices for compliance.

Key facts and statistics

  • Establishment - The GPhC was established in 2010, replacing the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) as the regulatory body for pharmacy in Great Britain.
  • Fitness to practise - The ability of a dental professional to perform their duties to the required standard without risk to patients or the public. 
  • Registrants - According to the latest data, the GPhC regulates over 56,000 pharmacists and 23,000 pharmacy technicians, as well as more than 14,000 pharmacy premises.
  • Public confidence - A 2022 survey revealed that 84% of the public trust pharmacists to provide accurate information about medicines.

Key definitions

  • Pharmacist - A healthcare professional licensed to prepare, dispense, and review drugs and provide additional clinical services.
  • Pharmacy technician - A licensed professional who assists pharmacists in dispensing medications and providing patient care. 
  • Pharmacy premises - A registered location where pharmacy services are provided, including dispensing medications and offering health advice.

The GPhC's role and responsibilities

Setting standards

The GPhC sets pharmacy education and training standards, ensuring that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians possess the necessary knowledge and skills. These standards extend to registered individuals' continuous professional development (CPD).

Registration and licensing

Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy premises must be registered with the GPhC to operate legally. The GPhC maintains a accessible register to the public, providing transparency and assurance regarding the legitimacy of professionals and premises.

Inspection and monitoring

The GPhC conducts regular inspections of pharmacy premises to ensure compliance with regulatory standards. These inspections assess various aspects, including the quality of services, staff competency, and the safety of the environment.

Fitness to practise

The GPhC investigates complaints and concerns about pharmacy professionals and premises. It has the authority to take disciplinary action, including suspending or removing individuals from the register if deemed unfit to practise.

Best practices for compliance

  • Understanding legislation and standards - Pharmacy professionals must stay informed about the relevant legislation, such as the Pharmacy Order 2010, and the standards set by the GPhC. Regular training and updates are essential for compliance.
  • Maintaining accurate records - Accurate and up-to-date records, including patient records, staff training logs, and inventory management, are crucial for demonstrating compliance during inspections.
  • Continuous Professional Development - Engaging in CPD activities is a requirement and a best practice to ensure that pharmacy professionals remain competent and updated with the latest advancements in the field.
  • Implementing robust policies and procedures - Pharmacies should have clear, written policies and procedures covering all aspects of their operations. These should be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect current standards and practices.

Recommendations for implementation

  • Regular training - Incorporate regular training sessions for all staff to keep abreast of changes in legislation and GPhC standards.
  • Compliance audits - Conduct internal audits to proactively identify and address potential compliance issues.
  • Leverage technology - Use compliance management software like ComplyPlus™ to streamline record-keeping, track CPD activities, and ensure adherence to policies and procedures.


The General Pharmaceutical Council's role in regulating the pharmacy profession is indispensable for ensuring safety, efficacy, and quality of pharmaceutical services. By adhering to the GPhC's standards and regulations, pharmacy professionals can enhance their practice, safeguard public health, and maintain trust in the healthcare system.

Ensure your business meets all regulatory and statutory compliance requirements with ComplyPlus™ software and training. Click here to discover our comprehensive support, which will keep you confident so you can focus on what really matters. Stay compliant, stay secure.

About the author

Dr Richard Dune

With over 20 years of experience, Richard blends a rich background in NHS, the private sector, academia, and research settings. His forte lies in clinical R&D, advancing healthcare tech, workforce development and governance. His leadership ensures regulatory compliance and innovation align seamlessly.

Ensuring quality and safety in pharmacy practice - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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