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Professional Defence Solicitors for Pharmacists
If your conduct or fitness to practise as a pharmacist has been called into question by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), you will face an investigation into your professionalism. We can assist by providing comprehensive legal advice throughout the process, including interim suspension applications, the substantive proceedings and appeals.
An investigation into your conduct and fitness to practise can have a detrimental effect on you and your career. That’s why it is important to seek legal guidance from expert professional defence solicitors who can advise you through the process and ensure you receive the best possible outcome.
The approach you take to proceedings can help to reduce the risk of suspension, imposition of conditions, or removal from the pharmaceutical register. Our experts have represented a broad range of healthcare professionals in investigation proceedings, and have extensive knowledge of the regulations set by the GPhC.
To speak to a solicitor if you have been notified of a complaint made against you, contact us today by calling 0800 652 5559, or fill in our online enquiry form to request a call back at your convenience.
How JMW Can Help
Our team can provide legal representation throughout the entire investigation process, from initial referral to hearings and representation at trials. We can assist you with the following:
- Advice during GPhC conduct and fitness to practise investigations
- Preparation and representation at committee hearings
- Making an appeal of decisions made by the GPhC
- Support during any associated criminal investigation
- Representation at all GPhC hearings, criminal trials or the Coroner’s Court
Cases will be handled with the utmost sensitivity and confidentiality and we will work to prepare the best possible defence to keep your interests protected.
What Our Clients Say
What happens during a GPhC investigation?
The way an investigation is carried out depends on the circumstances of the case. Typically, an investigation will include:
- Interviewing the complainant and any witnesses
- Interviewing the pharmacist involved
- Liaising with GPhC inspectors
- Visiting the registered pharmacy involved in the investigation
Depending on the nature of the concern, GPhC might need to obtain witness statements from patients, members of the public, members of the pharmacy team, employers, other health care practitioners, the police and any other regulators.
How long will a GPhC investigation take?
The GPhC states that it will try to complete investigations within three to nine months from the time the complaint is received. Updates will be provided every two months - although you are able to contact the representative managing complaint at any time.
What happens after a GPhC investigation has been completed?
Once an investigation is finished, all the evidence will be reviewed and any relevant action to take will be considered. All cases are assessed against the GPhC’s threshold criteria, which is used to decide who the case will be referred to - either the investigating committee or fitness to practise committee.
The investigating committee will hold a meeting to review the complaint. Those involved in the case so far, i.e. the complainant, the pharmacist and GPhC investigation staff, do not attend these meetings. However, the pharmacist concerned will be invited to provide written responses to the allegations.
Actions the investigating committee can take include:
- Taking no action
- Providing advice to the pharmacist
- Issuing a warning
- Agreeing undertakings with the pharmacist if they admit to not being fit to practise
- Referring the case to the fitness to practise committee
- Adjourning the meeting to gather more information
- Asking for further investigation
- Requiring a pharmacist to have a medical examination
The fitness to practise committee will usually hold a hearing between a chair, a registrant and a lay member. Other people who may attend include a legal advisor, a medical advisor, GPhC staff, any witnesses, the registrant and any representatives they have. Evidence will be presented and the committee will make a decision on the pharmacist’s fitness to practise.
Actions the fitness to practise committee can take include:
- Taking no action
- Agreeing undertakings with the pharmacist that they must or must not do in the future
- Issuing a warning
- Imposing conditions on the pharmacist’s practice
- Suspending the pharmacist
- Remove the pharmacist from the register
Can I continue to work while under investigation from the GPhC?
In most cases, you will be able to continue working; however, in cases where there is a concern about a pharmacist’s behaviour, the safety of patients or a health condition poses a risk to themselves or the public, an interim order can be implemented. Interim orders allow the GPhC to suspend or make conditions while an investigation is carried out.
We can advise and represent you in opposing or helping to agree the imposition of conditions, where relevant.