Insight and remediation are important in fitness to practise proceedings and applies equally to pharmacy students as they do to registered pharmacy professionals.
Pharmacy Students & Fitness to Practise
General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) legislation states that individuals can only be entered on the GPhC Register if they are satisfied that the pharmacy student or trainee meets the education and training requirements and are fit to practise. Student and trainee’s fitness to practise is therefore judged by the same standards as those applied to registered pharmacy professionals.
The GPhC’s standards for pharmacy professional’s states the following in relation to students and trainees:
The standards for pharmacy professionals are relevant to all pharmacy students and trainees while they are on their journey towards registration and practice. The standards explain the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours that will be expected of students and trainees if they apply to join the register. They should be interpreted in the context of education and training and used as a tool to prepare students and trainees for registration as a pharmacy professional. Pharmacy students and trainees should consider the standards as they move closer to registration and professional practice, and should read them alongside other relevant documents that are provided by initial education and training providers.
What is insight and remediation?
Fitness to practise investigations and sanctions exist to protect the public and maintain public confidence. It does not exist to punish healthcare professionals (or pharmacy students) and equally not to act as a complaint resolution service.
When conduct, educational performance and/or health concerns call in to question a pharmacy student’s fitness to practise, reflection is important to gain insight and from this to implement and demonstrate remediation.
Insight & Remediation for Pharmacy Students
As already mentioned, pharmacy students and trainees are expected to meet the standards for registered pharmacy professionals.
This is also true of insight and remediation. Pharmacy students and trainees are expected to be open and honest about issues that might affect their fitness to practise, and take steps to address or manage these concerns.
In particular, the GPhC expect pharmacy students to recognise where their conduct or health may put others at risk or undermine trust in the profession and take steps to maintain their fitness to practise.
Pharmacy education and training providers must have regard to GPhC guidance. The GPhC guidance makes clear that insight and remediation form part of mitigating and aggravating factors which are “important when making a decision”.
What is insight?
Insight goes beyond showing remorse and regret, it is about understanding why particular conduct or behaviour potentially calls fitness to practise into question and what steps are required to remedy any shortcomings, as well as a willingness to engage with such steps.
When evaluating the strength of insight, pharmacy education and training providers will consider, for example, whether a pharmacy student has:
- self-reporting of concerns;
- recognised what went wrong, why their actions, behaviour, or decisions are concerning;
- recognise and understood the potential public safety risks;
- fully engaged with the investigation process, including completing a reflective statement and action plans; and/or
- taken demonstrable steps and actions to remediate.
What is remediation?
In broad terms, remediation refers to rectifying or correcting a certain behaviour that has generated concerns. More specifically, in the context of fitness to practise, remediation is where a student or trainee addresses concerns about their conduct, behaviour or health.
There is not a single or set way to demonstrate remediation. Each case is different and the way in which a student or trainee can show they have remediated will depend on the specific circumstances. GPhC guidance states that remediation steps include:
- reflection and self-assessment or sincerely expressing remorse;
- taking steps to improve by learning from mistakes;
- putting measures in place to prevent similar events from recurring and having evidence of the steps taken and measures put in place; and/or
- any efforts to remediate should be driven by the student or trainee.
It is important to remember that remediation is a process that can require a significant investment of time and resources. The GPhC guidance warns that “Students and trainees will need to be aware of this and ensure they are dedicated to demonstrating remediation for their actions. But in the long-term, when successful, it helps the individual in becoming a better healthcare professional in the future.”
Health concerns rarely result in impaired fitness to practise but it can. Pharmacy students should be open and honest with their training provider about health concerns because the GPhC regards proactively raising issues as an indication of insight.
The GPhC guidance says:
“Those who experience difficulties with their health should be encouraged to discuss in advance their health matters with their prospective education or training provider, and to keep them updated on any developments during their studies, placement or employment. If, for whatever reason, despite adjustments being made and all reasonable avenues explored, concerns remain about a student or trainee’s fitness to practise, it may be appropriate to pursue the matter through a fitness to practise process.”
Impaired Fitness to Practise & Educational Appeals
Sometimes, insight and remediation might not be enough particularly where misconduct might jeopardise public confidence in pharmacy professionals and regulation. GPhC guidance makes it clear that “…in some cases, despite the student or trainee having demonstrated insight, the public interest may require a thorough investigation into potential fitness to practise concerns.”
A finding of impaired fitness to practise can lead to a pharmacy student being suspend or expelled from their training course. Students and trainees have the right to be represented before fitness to practise hearings. There is also a right of appeal in relation to a finding of impaired fitness to practise.
A finding of impaired fitness to practise could have a lasting and significant implications for students and trainees. Aside from impacting on training, the GPhC will consider any fitness to practise issues that arose during training at the point of pre-registration.
Working with us
We specialise in fitness to practise. We are experienced in working with healthcare professionals and students on all matters relating to fitness to practise and remediation. We know early engagement with us on issues of fitness to practise will help you with the right approach to remediation to ensure the best possible outcome for you.
Disclaimer: This article is for guidance purposes only. Kings View Chambers accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken, or not taken, in relation to this article. You should seek the appropriate legal advice having regard to your own particular circumstances.
Kings View Chambers
Specialist healthcare and medical regulation defence barristers dealing with all fitness to practise matters before:
- General Medical Council
- General Pharmaceutical Council
- General Dental Council
- Nursing & Midwifery Council
- Health and Care Professions Council
- Social Work England
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