Under the Pharmacy Order 2010, GPhC inspectors have the power to enter any registered pharmacy premises at any reasonable hour in order to conduct an inspection. Inspectors are not obliged to provide notice that they intend to carry out an inspection but in most cases will issue a notification letter and a self-assessment form prior to their inspection.
In the event of an inspector finding evidence of persistent breaches of legal requirements or regulatory standards, or a significant risk to patients or to public safety, the inspector will initiate further investigation. He has the power to investigate complaints made against pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy owners.
The process of investigation will depend on the particular facts of any case. Ordinarily the investigator will interview the complainant and any witnesses, interview the pharmacist/technician against whom the complaint has been made and visit the pharmacy premises where the incident is alleged to have taken place.
The inspector may formally interview pharmacists, pharmacy employees or pharmacy owners in accordance with the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and the relevant Codes of Practice made under that Act. Inspectors have authority to seize evidence related to the investigation.
In terms of the Pharmacy Order 2010 inspectors have powers to:
• Investigate allegations that a registered pharmacist or registered pharmacy technician’sfitness to practise is impaired;
• Enforce the standards set by the GPhC;
• Secure compliance with the Poisons legislation;
• Secure compliance with the relevant parts of the Medicines Act 1968 legislation;
• Enforce provisions within the Order relating to offences concerning the register;
• Enforce the relevant provisions of the Veterinary Medicines Regulations Investigating committee.