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Pharmacists to be competent in English

The Department of Health has issued a consultation on making all pharmacists, including UK nationals, competent in the English language, if they want to practise in the UK.

The new proposal also includes an amendment to enable the GPhC to hold a fitness to practise investigation into pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, in the event that it is alleged that their ability in English threatens patient safety.

The aim of the proposal is part of a drive to ensure that the public is not put at risk by healthcare professionals being unable to fluently use the English language. New entrants into the profession may have to provide proof of their language skills or pass a language assessment, to prove that they are fit to practise.

The concept of fitness to practise including being competent in the English language is something a fitness to practise panel for doctors can consider, as paragraph 14.1 in ‘Good Medical Practice states:

“14.1 You must have the necessary knowledge of the English language to provide a good standard of practice and care in the UK.”

Marie Dancer at Richard Nelson LLP regularly represents pharmacists in all types of fitness to practise investigations before the GPhC.

If you are concerned about any of the issues raised in this article, contact us today to speak to one of our specialised team. Alternatively, you may find the information you are looking for on our dedicated Pharmacists service page.

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